There are few U.S. industries that encounter this challenge more often than manufacturing. According to a 2015 report coauthored by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, the skills gap between the labor needed and the available talent continues to widen. Eighty-four percent of executives surveyed agreed there is a talent shortage in U.S. manufacturing, and it’s expected that two million manufacturing jobs likely will be unfilled by 2025, according to the report. This anticipated talent shortage will impact the industry’s ability to meet customer demands, increase productivity, provide effective customer service and develop new products.
In response, federal officials have committed an additional $100 million for the America’s Promise Grants program, which provides qualifying students free education at a two-year community college and training in areas such as information technology (IT) and manufacturing. Such specialized training programs are popular within the industry and have a proven track record of success: 72 percent of the executives surveyed by Deloitte agreed involvement with local schools and community colleges is an effective way to combat the growing talent shortage.
In the meantime, as policymakers and industry leaders intervene to address larger workforce issues, there are three primary steps individual specialty manufacturers can take to position themselves for success in attracting and retaining top-tier talent:
1) Develop detailed job descriptions
Before companies can recruit the appropriate talent, they must accurately define the day-to-day responsibilities and requisite experience necessary to succeed in the position. This job description helps businesses identify and attract qualified applicants – or promising trainees – that have the right profile to potentially excel in the role.
Employers should begin by performing a task analysis, or collecting and evaluating information on job duties and reviewing it with the employee currently in the position. Next, employers and the HR team should outline the essential job functions by determining which tasks are required, analyzing how often each task is performed and how much time it requires, and identifying the consequences of failing to perform said function. Candidates who are unable to fulfill these essential functions should be deemed unqualified for the job.
Finally, the job description should be clear and easy to read, and include the following information:
- Position title
- Salary grade
- Hierarchy overview
- Essential functions
- Required competencies
- Supervisory duties
- Position type and expected hours
By outlining the day-to-day functions of the position, candidates will better understand the role and whether or not they possess the required skills. This will help employers narrow the applicant pool to identify those individuals who are best qualified for the job.
2) Attend tradeshows and job fairs
Qualified candidates for specialty manufacturing positions are in high demand. Many of these candidates also are just finishing up community college programs or other training opportunities. Tradeshows and job fairs provide specialty manufacturers with access to these promising recruits, as well as to more traditional job seekers who already have industry experience. Training cycles for specialty manufacturing jobs also can run two years or more, so it’s important for companies to develop their bench early on to identify qualified individuals who are eager to enter the industry.
3) Complete pre-employment assessments
Prior to hiring a candidate, manufacturing companies should assess the skill sets, background experience and personality type of their most interesting applicants. This ensures the candidate does indeed have the skills required to succeed in the job and help increase the company’s productivity and profitability. In addition, by assessing the applicant’s personality type, employers can determine whether his or her demeanor, attitude and temperament would fit the position and the company’s overall culture.
It is also critical to complete pre-employment screening of candidates, including drug testing and background checks. These preliminary assessments reduce the amount of time spent on interviews and filter out individuals who may not ultimately be good candidates for the position.
To learn more about effective recruitment strategies for specialty manufacturers, please contact IdilusHR.