Is Top Manufacturing Talent Getting Harder to Find?


The manufacturing sector has had a good year. After many forecasted that this year would see as much as a 4.6 percent rise in revenue growth, those projections have largely panned out, and have not been focused in any one industry.

That would seem to be good news, but growth is only a positive when companies can keep up with its pace, and that is where the problem lies. Manufacturers estimated that they would increase staffing by 2.4 percent this year as production quotas increased and work came back to American soil after moving offshore. Unfortunately, they are having a hard time finding the skilled workers they need to fill their ranks.

The scramble to find qualified manufacturing professionals has led many to wonder where all of them went. Various theories have suggested that conservative post-recession hiring practices drove many into other industries, or that changing demographics have simply shrunk the available workforce. The theory most often cited, however, is that people simply don’t want these jobs, particularly young people.

Manufacturing has never been the most glamorous career path, but factory floors are more high-tech than ever, even as the perception of manufacturing work remains focused on low wages, dingy environments, and menial tasks. Employers are looking for younger, more technically oriented workers, but finding that they simply can’t draw them to manufacturing.

For manufacturing managers struggling to find the right applicants, or anticipating a struggle in the near future, these reports highlight the need for new recruitment strategies. Tapping into an eager and ample workforce is no longer a foregone conclusion, meaning that manufacturers have to make more of a proactive effort to broadcast the appeal of manufacturing, offer compensation and incentives to draw in skilled new talent, and create retention strategies to minimize turnover.

Manufacturers are also increasingly turning to professional recruiters. Once seen an field only applicable to white-collar work or to temporary office jobs, there are now specialized recruiters who work only with manufacturers and skilled manufacturing employees.  The services provided by recruiters help hiring managers to access a larger talent pool, and to identify the skills that are most essential for new hires to have. This leads to better outcomes all around, and offers manufactures the resource they need to grow their workforce in a fast but targeted way.

Building a relationship with a recruiter is a smart strategy even for manufacturers who are not currently hiring. Vacancies are inevitable, and when there is a hole in your workforce that is affecting your bottom line, you recruiter’s only priority is getting it filled fast. Learn more about the services available by speaking to a specialized staffing expert at Bayside Solutions.