How to Attract a Workforce to Manufacturing

Development in the manufacturing industry is becoming a huge issue. Many of the most skilled workers in manufacturing are retiring, and it’s getting harder and harder to find new young workers with the skills to replace them. What can we do to attract more talented people to the manufacturing industry?

It is clear that sitting back and waiting for the right employees to come to you is no longer an effective strategy. Managers of manufacturing plants need to take fast, aggressive action. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as:

  1. Dedicated Manufacturing Headhunters

You may find success by simply taking a brute force approach to attaching new members of the workforce to manufacturing — going out into the world, finding them and pulling them in. A specialized headhunter whose job is to find and recruit skilled or potentially skilled manufacturing employees will probably not be cheap. However, being short staffed or working with subpar employees can be far costlier in the long run.

In fact, some major manufacturers have created entire global talent research teams dedicated to finding the best possible candidates and bringing them into the fold. While you may not need or have the resources for such a wide-ranging solution, investing in one or two dedicated headhunters could prove to be tremendously rewarding in the long run.

  1. Local University Presence

Recruiting at colleges and universities is as old a practice as any in the talent mining discipline. Manufacturing entities may not be used to recruiting at institutions of higher learning because unless those colleges or universities were specifically geared for manufacturing, many of the students entering them typically sought careers in professional fields and were less inclined to be interested in manufacturing jobs.

Once again, an aggressive approach is required. Manufacturing managers need to visit colleges and universities and impress upon the students the lack of gainful employment opportunities relative to the substantial amount of debt many students accumulate. Add to this the valuable skills one can learn and the job security one can achieve with a good manufacturing position, and you may win over many students who might not otherwise consider manufacturing.

  1. Global Approach

Manufacturing, even if you do most of your assembling in your native country, has become a global affair. Your best opportunities for success may come from opening locations in other countries or acquiring training that you can only receive internationally. This presents an opportunity for you to both entice new workers and increase their value to you.

By creating a culture where employees are expected to work internationally, you can both create appeal for new entrants into the workforce looking for opportunities abroad as well as establish that it is expected for any and all employees to travel overseas for the company if necessary. Sending all of your employees abroad for at least a short time can also help you determine which employees you can relocate most effectively and for how long in order to meet the company’s need while still satisfying the needs of your employees.

  1. Employee-Friendly Culture

New workers have come to expect a culture that is employee-friendly. They want some measure of autonomy over their work lives, and they want to feel like they have a real investment in the business. This doesn’t mean they need actual equity in your business, but they do need to feel like they are important, and their contributions are valid.

Some employee-friendly innovations include floor plans that encourage open communication between employees, corporate retreats and frequent, encouraging feedback. If you create such a culture, word will get out. Potential employees who visit your facility will see it, and current employees will tell others about it. Before long, you may be surprised about how many new potential recruits you find in the pool.

  1. Social Media Presence

Manufacturing and social media aren’t necessarily the most logical combination, but when you’re trying to attract new young talent, being involved in social media is a must. Today’s up-and-coming workforce shops for everything online, including job opportunities, so you need to make sure you are in cyberspace for them to find you.

While things haven’t been easy for manufacturing in recent years, and there is no guarantee they will get any easier, finding talented new people to join your workforce is possible. You may have to take a more proactive approach than in the past, but if you do, you may very well be rewarded with some of the best employees you’ve ever had.

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