Listen in on any conversation about the state of Manufacturing in North America these days and you’ll hear a growing chorus of concern about the shortage of available, qualified workers. There are many diverse factors for this developing phenomenon, including:
- Fewer graduates from STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines
- Outdated and incorrect perceptions of workplace environments that are not safe, clean or progressive
- A widespread misperception (especially among younger generations) that manufacturing offers less-competitive wages, is short on innovation and sophistication, and in short, simply isn’t a “sexy” career choice.
The fact is, few sectors of the economy exhibit the rapidly changing workplace like manufacturing. With continuous advances in technology and a uniquely large financial and employment footprint, HR departments inside manufacturing companies have no choice but to keep up with faster-than-ever changes.
Replenishing an aging workforce
One recent study showed the alarming average age of highly skilled manufacturing workers, 56, with almost 25% of the skilled worker base planning to retire over the next ten years. Finding new ways to replenish the human capital needed by every manufacturing organization isn’t just being proactive, it has become a matter of survival.
The good news is that 80% of management in manufacturing firms surveyed recognize the critical importance of meeting workforce demands in the coming years.
The not-so-good news, however, is that the very nature of many vacant positions inherently limits the number of potential qualified candidates. Given the specificity of many manufacturing positions for example – highly specialized civil engineers with specific skill sets, experience and abilities – hiring issues confronting Manufacturing HR professionals are equally specialized.
In spite (and perhaps because) of these factors, however, far too many manufacturers still use the same HR tactics and procedures that were in use 10 or more years ago. More proactive (and successful!) HR professionals are taking advantage of Cegid’s award-winning Talent Acquisition solution that provides them with cutting-edge interactive communication and management tools to find the right candidates and then manage them throughout their entire talent lifecycle. Cegid gives these HR efforts a strategic talent advantage through process automation, talent analytics and creative sourcing options to more effectively find qualified candidates with the exact skills required, manage positions and measure recruiting efforts.
Calling All Millennials
One important area that companies in the manufacturing sector focus on is recruiting efforts to millennials, since this group has significantly more technology skills and proves more adaptable to modern manufacturing practices, a highly valuable trait. Unfortunately, millennials typically seek careers outside of manufacturing and even tend to stigmatize manufacturing in general as a slow, outdated career path that doesn’t align well, if at all, with their personal interests and goals.
HR professionals in manufacturing can successfully address this common misperception by promoting a more accurate image of an industry that’s on the cutting edge of technology and pushing the envelope of innovation more with each day. As one senior industry manager said in a recent article, “Manufacturing today is modern and high-tech, and it is vital for HR to catch up with this and be as modern as the industry.
In fact, making the best first impression with a candidate is more important than ever. Cegid’s Talent Management Solution could be the easiest way to accomplish this with customizable branding elements and powerful candidate management tools, like analyzing the performance of ads across various job boards to refine the targeting of recruitment campaigns, automated job alerts to keep potential candidates aware of positions that match their skills and experience, and built-in social sharing functionality that turns each visitor into a valuable extension of your recruiting team. Cegid even designed a feature to showcase critical and/or hot openings along with job cart technology that lets candidates quickly and easily apply to multiple jobs.
The Need for Speed in Recruitment
Because gaps in the manufacturing workforce impact productivity more than in some other sectors of the economy, the recruiting process must be agile, flexible and as quick as possible to quickly address these gaps. The manufacturing sector simply can’t afford to lose talent based on a laborious and time-consuming recruitment process. Technology such as Cegid’s Talent Acquisition solution is a powerful tool for today’s manufacturing HR team and can have a hugely beneficial impact on recruiting efficiencies. With its unique combination of features, a beautifully designed mobile-friendly interface and robust social sharing functionality, Cegid gives you an advantage in making sure candidates are impressed with your company from the very start.
One Solution to Retention & Attrition
Obviously, recruiting younger generations of employees is critical to the future of manufacturing. There are other issues within the existing workforce, however, that limit growth and productivity. For example, today’s workforce thrives when employers hear their collective voice loud and clear.
It can be safely said that, the younger the workforce, the more valuable and important the concept of soliciting employee feedback becomes. A policy of listening to feedback improves every stage of the employee lifecycle by integrating the ideas and opinions of every employee into policies and procedures that help shape the organization – and the industry – itself. Time and time again manufacturing management teams have seen the positive results of making changes that stem from employee feedback. When this happens, the workforce can’t help but feel more empowered and significantly more satisfied with their jobs. Here also, a modern talent management solution can help foster employee engagement at scale.
These are only a few of the ways that HR Professionals within the manufacturing sector can keep up and even stay ahead of the growing need to hire qualified, engaged and motivated recruits. We’ll discuss additional methods and technology in future posts, so stay connected to Cegid.