Things were not looking so bright for the manufacturing sector in the past year. More than half of manufacturers expressed their concern as their employee turnover rose to 62% while unfilled jobs in their organizations were sitting at 57%.  Goes without saying that these challenges will still make manufacturing recruitment a difficult mission in 2024. Luckily, we have gone through best practices and tips to help you fill empty seats in manufacturing organizations without breaking a sweat. Let’s dive into it.
Challenges In Manufacturing Recruitment
Although vital to the global economy, the manufacturing sector is facing many obstacles in filling roles. Here are some of the key challenges in manufacturing recruitment.
- A talent and skills shortage: The manufacturing workforce is aging and retiring, leaving behind a gap of experienced and qualified workers. At the same time, the skills required for manufacturing jobs are changing rapidly due to the adoption of automation, digitalization, and artificial intelligence, creating a mismatch between the skills available in the labor market and the skills needed by the industry. Over 77% of manufacturers revealed that they will have to deal with an ongoing challenge in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond. 
- Perception and image: Many people have negative or outdated perceptions of manufacturing as a boring, dirty, or low-paying industry.  This discourages young people and women from pursuing careers in manufacturing, resulting in a lack of diversity and innovation.
- A changing labor market: Around 1.4 million manufacturing jobs in the US were lost during the first waves of the global pandemic. The layoffs, sicknesses, and uncertainty pushed back the manufacturing labor force by over a decade. These factors also changed the expectations and preferences of workers, who are looking for more flexibility, safety, and stability in their jobs.
5 Tips to Ace Manufacturing Recruitment
1. Optimize Your Job Postings
Your job postings are the first impression you make on potential candidates, so you need to make them clear, concise, and compelling. When it comes to manufacturing recruitment, it is essential to provide a comprehensive job description that highlights the technical skills, experience, and qualifications required for the role. Be specific about the responsibilities and tasks involved, as well as any specific requirements such as certifications or licenses. Also, use niche job boards that cater to specific segments of the manufacturing workforce, such as engineering, quality, or logistics. You can also make the job posting process faster and easier with a tool like Manatal. In one click, you can share your job ads across 2500+ channels and platforms.
2. Understand the Manufacturing Industry
Aside from a well-crafted job post, you also need to understand the beat of the manufacturing sector. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, developments, and technologies. Having a comprehensive knowledge of the manufacturing industry goes a long way. You can better identify the specific skills and qualifications needed for manufacturing roles. It’s a good idea to attend industry conferences and workshops and join manufacturing-specific professional networks.
3. Go to Expos and Trade Shows
One of the secret sauces to be successful in manufacturing recruitment is attending industry-specific expos and trade shows. These events bring together a large and diverse audience of manufacturers, suppliers, buyers, and experts, who can provide you with valuable insights, contacts, and opportunities. It gives you the perfect opportunity to build a strong network. You’ll also get to meet and interact with potential candidates who are interested in or have experience in the industry while showcasing your products, services, and culture in the process.
4. Advertise Through Niche Magazines
Going for candidates who already have an interest in or experience within the industry is another way you can ace manufacturing recruitment. You can do it by advertising job openings through niche magazines for the manufacturing industry such as engineering or logistics. These magazines provide you with a channel to target a specific audience and increase the chances of attracting talent with relevant skills and qualifications.
5. Partner with Manufacturing Trade Schools and Colleges
Lastly, engaging with educators and career service departments allows you to connect with students who are ready to enter the manufacturing workforce. Attend career fairs, conduct workshops, or offer internships to foster relationships with potential candidates early on. Keep in mind that nurturing connections with educational institutions can grant you access to a fresh talent pipeline and potentially find candidates who come with the required skills and knowledge.
Mistakes to Avoid in Manufacturing Recruitment
Not Using the Right Sourcing Channels
Sourcing channels are the platforms or methods that you use to find and reach out to potential candidates including job boards, social media, referrals, career fairs, or recruitment agencies. Too bad that many recruiters use the same old or ineffective sourcing channels. They may also overlook some of the best or emerging sourcing channels that can help them access a larger and more diverse pool of talent.
A successful manufacturing recruitment calls for an effective sourcing strategy. So, diversify and optimize your sourcing channels, and use a combination of different platforms that suit your target audience.
Some of the best sourcing channels for manufacturing recruitment are:
- Niche job boards: These job boards cater to specific segments or sectors of the manufacturing industry, such as engineering, quality, or logistics. Some examples are EngineerJobs, Quality Jobs, or Logistics Jobs.
- Referrals: Recommendations or endorsements from your current or former employees, customers, partners, or suppliers can help you tap into the hidden or passive talent market, and find candidates who are already familiar with or interested in your company. Plus, they can also help reduce your hiring costs and time.
- Career fairs: You’ll get to meet and network with potential candidates in person through these events or exhibitions. You’ll also get to provide hands-on experience or simulations of your work environment to candidates.
Not Having a Structured Interview Process
When you have an unstructured or inconsistent interview process that lacks clear objectives, criteria, and methods, you’ll end up with hiring bias, poor hiring decisions, and low hiring quality. Chances are you let underqualified candidates slip into the company. As you can imagine, it’s super critical not to carry these bad factors into manufacturing recruitment.
First of all, you need to craft a structured and standardized interview process that follows the same format, questions, and scoring system for all candidates. Define the goals and expectations of each stage, and use tools and techniques to measure and compare candidates’ skills and fit.
To ensure you’re landing the right candidates for your roles, use panel interviews that involve multiple interviewers, such as hiring managers, team members, or stakeholders, to evaluate candidates. It can be done simultaneously or separately. They can help you reduce bias by gathering multiple perspectives and feedback on candidates’ fit within the team and the company.
Manufacturing recruitment is not a one-size-fits-all process. Each manufacturing company and role may have different requirements and expectations, and each candidate may have different goals and preferences. So, you need to be flexible and adaptable and tailor your strategies to the specific context and situation. You also need to be aware of the latest trends and developments in the manufacturing sector. Be prepared to face the challenges and opportunities that are constantly on their way to you.