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How to attract top talent during a manufacturing skills gap

A joint Deloitte-Manufacturing Institute study published last year found that more than 4.6 million manufacturing jobs needed to be filled in the next 10 years. Unfortunately, approximately only 2.2 million will be filled. Addressing the skills gap by attracting top talent proactively is crucial in the years ahead. Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) account for half of the workforce- currently the largest generation in the US labor force. By 2025 millennials will account for 75%. Focusing on this demographic is a wise place to start when developing a candidate strategy.

Let’s focus on two main ways to attract top talent in the manufacturing industry:

First, leaders in the manufacturing industry have a responsibility to dispel all negative assumptions. Researchers surveyed almost 400 executives from the US manufacturing industry to determine the cause of the current and impending skills gap. An overwhelming 45% of the respondents attributed “negative perceptions towards the manufacturing industry” to account for only half of the estimated jobs filled.

How can you, a manufacturing company dispel these negative perceptions?

One simple way is to utilize social media platforms by showcasing your work. Millennials are tech savvy and highly active on social media. If your company does not already, determine which platforms would be most effective and in line with your brand. If Instagram is best for your business then begin by creating an account. Focus messaging and content on the exciting technological advancements that you utilize daily. It might seem commonplace to you, but it may be a deciding factor for a potential candidate. Industry 4.0 i.e. advanced technologies including automation, robotics, 3D printing, and digital analytics are desirable benefits to working in the manufacturing industry- also in direct opposition to the factory and “assembly line” image that remains with the public. Sharing these technologies via social media is an interactive way to attract job seekers by communicating the achievements of the company, the culture, and career advancement opportunities.

Secondly, work-life balance is the main differentiator as millennials consider which company to pursue. 77% of the current workforce lists flexibility as the top priority. Whether it is freelance options or remote work a few days a week, companies that provide unconventional work hours are more appealing to the right candidates. Remote work may sound like the ultimate perk for employees, but studies have proven that there are significant benefits to employers including increased productivity from each employee and a decrease in the cost of rented office space. However, keep in mind that remote work does require a strategy to achieve optimal results.

The new year brings a new outlook. Addressing the skills gap by embracing the above strategies is a great place to start for a successful 2020!

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