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Recruitment Tips | 6 minute read

Manufacturing recruitment: 4 ways to bridge the talent gap

June 21, 2021

Some of the manufacturing industry’s biggest pain points revolve around the need for skilled talent. To meet Industry 4.0 demands, proactive, strategic recruiting is needed to ensure your TA function can keep pace. After all, there is no progress without people. Talent partners have the expertise needed to help you make informed decisions and prepare your manufacturing organization for today and tomorrow’s challenges. With the flexibility to scale resources according to organizational needs, you’ll have the ability to stay lean and at optimal productivity levels in your overall talent acquisition efforts. 

Manufacturing recruitment: addressing the talent skills gap  

Urgency around recruiting for Industry 4.0 is at an all-time high. With baby boomers beginning their departure from the workforce, it’s imperative to assess your current workers and seize opportunities to meet ongoing digitization demands. This pertains to incoming talent as well as training the next generation. To do so effectively, you must take a tailored, strategic approach that incorporates your organization’s people, culture and processes. You can accomplish this with a holistic approach to talent – not just today, but every day in the future. It’s this continuous and deliberate effort over time that will secure valuable, top performers in the pipeline. 

Here are some ways talent partners work to close the skills gap: 

1. Segment your workforce to better understand motivations 

Every career path is not created equal, and it’s time to stop treating them this way in your manufacturing recruiting efforts. Bucketing the type of recruiting by role empowers you to attract the right talent. Just as there are different attraction methods, there are different motivators for hourly employees and corporate roles, for example. Fortunately, talent partners leverage industry expertise and market research to help you identify what job seekers of every level are looking for so you can attract and retain that much-needed talent.  

2. Update your employee value proposition (EVP) to attract top talent  

In the manufacturing job market, volatility exists because job seekers may leave a plant one day to work at another the next. If they’re offered higher pay and promises for a better work environment, the decision can be made in the snap of a finger. This ongoing struggle for candidate loyalty is an industry-wide challenge – but one that can be improved through employment branding initiatives, among other concerted efforts. Talent partners can help you craft your EVP to genuinely reflect your brand and attract the talent you’re after. 

Read more on how to improve your employer branding strategy 

3. Build career paths to retain employees 

What efforts around internal mobility are you taking to help employees to upskill and reskill? It’s vital to invest in upskilling projects and initiatives to keep employees engaged and motivated so they’re more likely to stay longer. Without these opportunities, they’ll jump ship for the next best opportunity as soon as it’s available, and then you’re back to square one with high attrition. That means losing top performers and falling victim to the skills gap – perpetuating shortages and increasing workloads. Talent partners strategically consult on your entire talent function, including internal mobility opportunities, to ensure all members of your workforce have opportunities for growth. 

4. Prioritize diversity for greater innovation and performance 

Racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform competitors according to research from McKinsey. Awareness, of course, is the first step to tackling any problem. But, it’s no longer enough to simply report you have a certain percentage of diverse hires. Does your culture make them feel welcome, and can they show up as their true selves at work? Talent partners can help you evaluate your company’s state of your diversity so you can develop an ongoing plan. Not only that, but they also provide partnership to ensure you’re living up to the promises and pledges around diversity you’ve made.  

Change process to fit function 

Skilled talent continues to be a challenge in the manufacturing space – but it’s all about how to empower employees to be loyal and gain the skills needed to grow. This war for talent will continue, but it’s important to actively work to rebrand the preconceived notions of manufacturing as a hazardous, intense environment to truly digitally transform and gain skilled workers for the future.  

To learn more about manufacturing recruitment initiatives that a talent partner can help you with, read our blueprint for hiring manufacturing talent: 


About Cody Brennan

Cody has more than 13 years of experience in the talent acquisition industry. In his role as vice president, he leads the company’s contingent solutions division, partnering with some of the world’s most admired brands to ensure they have access to top talent. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and lives in Tampa, Fla.