Manufacturing is one of the most important sectors of the economy, producing goods and services that people need and want. In today’s increasingly competitive industrial landscape, the role of a manufacturing professional has never been more crucial. These experts are responsible for driving efficiency, ensuring quality control, and ultimately, keeping the wheels of industry turning.
However, finding and hiring qualified manufacturing professionals can be challenging, especially in the competitive and evolving market. As the manufacturing industry grows, the need for skilled professionals is rising. However, hiring manufacturing workers can be challenging due to a talent shortage and misconceptions about the industry.
According to a Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute report, attracting and retaining a quality workforce is a top focus for 83% of manufacturers surveyed. This shortage is further exacerbated by the fact that a significant portion of the manufacturing workforce is nearing retirement age.
This creates a skills gap that needs to be addressed.
Another significant challenge is the negative perception of manufacturing among younger generations. Manufacturing is often viewed as a lower-status job, leading to a lack of interest among young people. To address this issue, manufacturing employers need to change the perception of the industry and highlight the modern, high-tech nature of manufacturing careers.
Here are some tactics to hire and retain top manufacturing talent in this tumultuous landscape.
Boosting Candidate Engagement
To attract top manufacturing talent, HR professionals must build a robust talent pipeline and effectively engage with potential candidates. Here are some strategies to boost candidate engagement:
- Building a Robust Talent Pipeline: Engage with candidates early by partnering with local trade programs, hosting career fairs, and targeting high schools, community colleges, and technical schools. Encourage candidates to opt-in for communications from the company and provide them with relevant information about job opportunities, career advice, and company news.
- Leveraging the Manufacturing Workforce: Implement an employee referral program to encourage current employees to refer potential candidates — host open houses and job fairs to attract candidates and showcase the workplace culture and opportunities for growth.
- Attracting Young Talent: Connect with educational institutions and organizations that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives. Engage with students early on to raise awareness about the opportunities in manufacturing and dispel negative perceptions.
Simplifying and Optimizing the Recruitment Process
To attract and retain manufacturing talent, providing a seamless and efficient recruitment process is crucial. Here are some steps to simplify and optimize the recruitment process:
- Assess the Candidate Journey: Understand the candidate journey from awareness to application and identify potential areas where candidates may drop off. Streamline the application process and ensure clear communication with candidates throughout the hiring process.
- Create Clear Job Descriptions: Develop comprehensive and accurate job descriptions highlighting each position’s specific skills, competencies, and career opportunities. Include information about compensation, benefits, and potential for growth to attract top talent.
- Embrace Mobile-Friendly Recruiting: Optimize the company’s career site and job applications for mobile devices. With the increasing use of mobile devices in job searching, providing a user-friendly experience for candidates is essential.
- Optimize the Career Site: Use the company’s career site as a platform to showcase the company’s culture, values, and opportunities for career growth. Include employee testimonials and success stories to give candidates a glimpse into what it’s like to work for the company.
Highlighting Opportunities for Career Growth
Career growth and development are crucial factors for attracting and retaining manufacturing talent. Here are some strategies to highlight opportunities for career growth:
- On-the-Job Training: Emphasize the company’s commitment to providing on-the-job training to help employees develop new skills and advance their careers.
- Recognition Programs: Implement recognition programs to reward and acknowledge employees’ contributions. Highlight opportunities for employees to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work and achievements.
- Professional and Leadership Development: Offer programs to help employees enhance their skills and advance within the organization. Provide opportunities for employees to attend workshops, conferences, and courses to develop their expertise.
- Mentorship Opportunities: Implement mentorship programs to pair experienced and newer employees. This allows for knowledge transfer and creates a supportive environment for career growth.
Changing Perceptions of Manufacturing
Addressing the negative perceptions surrounding the industry is essential to attract top manufacturing talent. Here are some strategies to change these perceptions:
- Engage with Educational Institutions: Collaborate with high schools, community colleges, and technical schools to educate students about the opportunities in manufacturing. Offer internships, apprenticeships, and work-study programs to provide hands-on experience and showcase the modern, high-tech nature of the industry.
- Dispel Myths and Stereotypes: Challenge the outdated perception of manufacturing as dirty, dull, and dangerous. Use company visits, open houses, and career fairs to showcase the industry’s advanced technologies, automation, and career opportunities.
- Invest in Community Outreach: Engage with the local community through initiatives that promote manufacturing as a viable career option. Partner with local organizations, participate in career fairs and sponsor educational programs to raise awareness about the industry.
Expanding the Candidate Pool
Manufacturing employers must broaden their candidate pool to address the shortage of skilled workers. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Targeting Veterans: Tap into the pool of talented veterans with valuable skills and experience. Develop partnerships with veteran organizations and create apprenticeship programs specifically designed for veterans.
- Empowering Women in Manufacturing: Encourage and support the inclusion of women in the manufacturing industry. Develop mentorship programs, provide opportunities for skill development, and promote gender diversity within the organization.
- Tapping into the Long-Term Unemployed: Partner with state and county programs that assist the long-term unemployed in gaining employment. Provide training and development opportunities to help individuals re-enter the workforce and build successful careers in manufacturing.
- Partner with an Experienced Staffing and Recruiting Firm: A staffing and recruiting firm can provide access to a large pool of candidates, screen and evaluate them for fit, adjust the workforce size and composition, reduce costs and risks, and increase productivity and efficiency.
Investing in Employee Training and Development
Investing in employee training and development is crucial to attract and retain manufacturing talent. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Create a Culture of Continuous Learning: Foster a culture where employees are encouraged and supported in their pursuit of learning and development. Provide opportunities for skill-building, offer tuition reimbursement programs, and promote ongoing professional development.
- Implement Integrated Training Programs: Develop comprehensive training programs that address the specific skills and competencies required for each role. Provide technical and soft skills training to ensure employees have the necessary tools to excel.
- Train Managers to Support Employee Growth: Provide training for managers to support employee development and career growth effectively. Encourage regular performance discussions, goal-setting, and coaching to help employees reach their full potential.
In today’s competitive manufacturing industry, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for success. By implementing these strategies and best practices, HR professionals can optimize their recruiting efforts and overcome the skills gap challenges, negative perceptions, and changing workforce dynamics.
If you’re looking for help building your talent pipeline, let’s chat.