The manufacturing sector has lost 1.4 million jobs post-COVID and has only regained 75% of these manufacturing jobs to date. Almost every industry has felt the strain of turnover, early retirement, and the general candidate shortage, but manufacturing is facing a few challenges that other industries are not.
Hiring in manufacturing is stalling due to a perception problem – and this issue reaches far past the short-term effects of the pandemic. Candidates that have historically chosen manufacturing jobs are choosing employment in other industries because they believe they’ll have more stability and better career development opportunities.
Attract candidates to you by investing in an all-around talent acquisition strategy that will have employees coming to you rather than you going to them. To begin with, you can implement these 5 steps to manufacturing hiring success.
This should be an obvious first step, but make sure your compensation is on par with your competitors, and with other industries. Manufacturing jobs tended to have higher salaries and hourly wages pre-pandemic but is not keeping up with wage increases across industries. If you want your company to compete, you have to be willing to pay a bit more to entice workers to apply.
The top 3 reasons that employees have not returned to work post-COVID are: fear of health risks associated with the ongoing pandemic, child or elderly-care related tasks, and early retirement. HR professionals probably can’t convince people to come out of retirement, however, there is a solution for workers who are COVID-cautious and/or those who are at home because they need to fulfill childcare duties.
First, make sure your factory, building, etc has a COVID plan. This could mean a dedicated person who keeps track of who has come down with the virus on each team and figuring out their close contacts. The faster you stop the spread, the less likely that the whole area has to shut down due to lack of workers. Second, ensure workers are properly equipped with protective face masks and are able to social distance. Showing you care about the safety of your employees leads to more employees and fewer vacant positions.
Another way to attract more employees is offering childcare (or a childcare stipend). Many unemployed people who are not actively job searching cite childcare as the reason. Childcare can be expensive, and workers are choosing between spending nearly all of their salary in childcare, or simply remaining at home to care for their children.
The manufacturing sector has an optics problem – and it’s that people don’t believe a job in manufacturing will grant them stability or further career advancement opportunities. Change their minds by offering learning opportunities, tuition, and mentoring. When employees are nurtured and given opportunities to learn and grow through their careers, you create brand advocates and loyal workers.
Some manufacturing companies ask for specific criteria that many entry-level applicants might not have. Instead of hiring for hard skills, consider widening your range and hiring for soft skills and the ability to learn. For example, critical thinking is an extremely important skill in many positions, but there’s no certificate or degree an applicant can complete to prove their ability to think critically.
In order to find out if your applicants have skills like critical thinking, adaptability, and communication, you have to interview them. But with the time crunch recruiters are feeling at the moment, it can be difficult to find time to interview every single promising applicant.
Luckily, in the age of technology – there’s a solution for that. To cut down screening time by around 80%, try incorporating one-way video interviewing technology into your hiring process. Your applicants can record their responses to your written interview questions on their own time, and your hiring team can review them whenever they’re able.
Attend recruiting events in schools near your company – colleges and high schools. Engaging with potential candidates before they graduate is a great way to get on their radar. Different colleges, community colleges, and high schools put on career fairs, so look for some in your area. You can even pre-schedule interviews before the fair to make sure you speak with candidates that are interested in your company and mission.
Aside from the other issues facing hiring in manufacturing, HR professionals also have to deal with recruiter burnout. Facing more competition for fewer candidates (as well as fewer recruiters recruiting) hiring teams have had to speed up their recruiting – and many are turning to virtual recruiting platforms to help them quickly screen and hire candidates.
Interviewstream offers video interviewing and scheduling solutions that aim to make your hiring process faster and more efficient. See what our clients have to say, or feel free to reach out if you’d like more information.
Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.