American manufacturers have about 350,000 current job openings and are facing a looming shortage of 2.4 million workers by 2028, and the silver tsunami of retiring Baby Boomers is impacting manufacturing as much as any other industry. So now is the perfect time for them to make the changes necessary to attract a younger and more diverse, high-tech based workforce.
In many cases, this means making some drastic changes to both culture and work environment. For example, women make up about 47% of the total workforce but only about 30% of the people employed in manufacturing industries, a ratio that is similar to what it was about 20 years ago. Clearly the industry has to make the industry more attractive to women. Two areas to address are: women still make only 72% of the median male salary in the industry and hold only 25% of the leadership positions.
While the workforce dynamic is complex, manufacturers can begin with a more simple approach for solving their labor issues with these three foundational areas:
Employee-centric companies deliver on the premise that their people are their most important assets. There are many ways to make your company more attractive to current and prospective employees. Here are a few possibilities:
Census data shows that those who work in manufacturing earn over 21% more than the median income. A manufacturer has a lot of good jobs to showcase – from data and software to automation and advanced technology. The enterprise requires skills ranging from design and marketing to administration, finance, sales, and cybersecurity.
The talent pools for these jobs are vast if you are willing to look beyond the traditional boundaries for manufacturers. Consider these non-traditional talent pools:
Just as you target specific personas for your business, target specific talent pools for your workforce.
Video is a powerful medium that is underutilized by the manufacturing industry. It can be used for training and best-practices. Just showing how something is made can be very cool. Think of how often you have heard someone say, “I never knew what your company did.” If people don’t know what you do, they have no way of knowing whether they would want to work for you. Or worse, they fill that information void with stereotypical assumptions that you do something industrial, dirty and dangerous.
Video also does not have to be expensive. A professionally produced “welcome video” can be done for $5,000 to $10,000, as can many training and safety videos. These videos provide long lasting value.
The benefits of video in your recruiting, hiring and training processes include:
Let’s look at three video options that manufacturers should consider.
A professionally produced three-minute “welcome video” is the low-hanging fruit that can reside on your website and be used with every job listing and linked with social media posts. It can provide:
Visual learning is a powerful tool for how to operate a machine or complete a process, especially in comparison to legacy written instructions. There also are benefits to animating videos, for applications such as:
Also, don’t underestimate the benefits of translation services as videos can be produced in one language and easily duplicated in others.
Virtual Reality will continue to play an increasingly important role for many types of training, and it has incredible uses for manufacturing. VR allows for the mastery of difficult tasks without putting the quality of work at risk but also creates emergency scenarios in a risk-free virtual environment for the employee. VR will improve:
VR will boost employee performance, reduce costly errors, and manage risk – all while attracting younger employees.