Today’s labor market is tougher than ever when it comes to hiring light industrial employees.

The good news is: With a little creative thinking, you can succeed and emerge a winner in the highly competitive manufacturing talent war.

The Skills Gap

According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report, more than 75 percent of manufacturing employers said they faced difficulty filling open positions. Baby boomers, who for many years have filled these roles, continue to retire at an alarming pace. And among younger candidates, a stigma still exists about being an industrial worker.

The statistics don’t lie. You have a challenge ahead of you.

  • Only one in three parents today would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing.
  • Manufacturing ranked dead last in career choices among those aged 19 through 33, reflecting a decline that has been ongoing since the massive factory shutdowns of the 1970s and 80s.

In research done by The Manufacturing Institute:

  • Seventy percent of executives reported a shortage of workers with adequate technical and computer skills.
  • Nearly as many (69 percent) said candidates lacked problem-solving abilities.
  • Sixty percent said applicants fell short in math skills.

It takes an average of 70 days to recruit a skilled production worker. Due to this talent shortage, the average U.S. manufacturer stands to lose 11 percent of their annual earnings – or about $3,000 per existing employee – including downtime, overtime and production-cycle time.

Guidelines for Success

The statistics go on and on. How do you help your company stay competitive in the face of this talent shortfall?

  • Go beyond job boards. Get people in the door. Hold open houses and invite potential candidates to tour your plant and talk with current employees and managers.
  • Reach out to schools. Invite students in to see what manufacturing looks like today, with a focus on technological advances. And, go to them. Have younger employees represent your company at career fairs to show students light industrial work offers a viable career-growth option. During summer months, hire teachers to fill in for vacationing employees. Then, when they go back to school, they can share their experience with students.
  • Target a variety of candidates. This includes new graduates, as well as veterans, women and the long-term unemployed. Consider partnering with fast-track training programs at local community and technical colleges.
  • Invest in training. To attract and retain workers with the right skill set, it’s important you help every candidate and employee understand their career growth – and what opportunities can be there for them when they apply themselves in their positions. Let them know that you have not just job openings; you have career opportunities.

Partnering with a specialized local recruitment firm is one of the smartest steps you can take to help ensure hiring success. StaffMasters is a leader in matching top light industrial talent with leading employers throughout the Carolinas. We can make it happen for you, too. Contact us today to learn more.


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