Comprehensive guide for manufacturing recruitment in post-covid era
Manufacturing recruitment has undergone a rapid transformation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. A McKinsey report outlines how jobs in work environments with higher physical contact had undergone a massive transformation in the post-COVID era, in turn leading to several internal shifts.
The report also talks about how the pandemic may drive swifter integration of AI and automation in these working zones. At the same time, manufacturing hiring needs a generational shift to draw the right talent and overcome COVID-19 roadblocks that derailed the process over the last couple of years.
In this guide on manufacturing recruitment, we are going to discuss the disruption caused by the pandemic in the manufacturing industry, the challenges faced by manufacturing recruiters, their solutions, how to identify, attract and retain suitable manufacturing staff, and more. We’ll also look at recruitment tools (especially the one powered by AI), techniques, and strategies for hiring in manufacturing industries.
Manufacturing recruitment trends after COVID-19
The pandemic has touched recruiting in all industries in some common and unique ways. This gave rise to several pertinent manufacturing staffing trends to understand and adapt to the future of the manufacturing workforce.
Local manufacturing market expansion
COVID-19 has led to supply chain bottlenecks. This has given a stimulus to local manufacturing markets. This has directly impacted manufacturing hiring, with more nations now promoting local manufacturing units, thereby creating new opportunities across the spectrum.
Increase in digitization
Several manufacturing companies are rapidly digitalizing and integrating technologies, thereby creating higher demand for more tech professionals, including data scientists and technology architects.
Need for consistent re-skilling and up-skilling
These are major trends that have accelerated after the pandemic. This also involves the adoption of technological skills and updated machinery to a large extent. This will impact manufacturing recruitment strategies, with more companies seeking flexible, adaptable, and updated workers. Re-skilling will be a priority area for these hires as well.
Changes in consumer behavioral patterns
With greater knowledge and awareness among consumers, manufacturers will look for new hires in areas like quality supervision, research analysis, and more. With more digital platforms being used by consumers, there will also be manufacturing sector jobs for digital and marketing experts. There will also be a higher demand for delivery and logistics personnel.
Post-pandemic manufacturing recruitment challenges
The challenges of manufacturing staffing after the pandemic include some new and unforeseen aspects, like offering work-from-home provisions to part of the workforce. While it has also worsened some existing issues like finding the right talent online.
Here’s a look at some of the most concerning challenges of manufacturing staffing:
Unfavorable industry branding
Manufacturing job opportunities do not possess the allure or glamor associated with leading corporate positions or other white-collar jobs. They are not perceived as luxurious and come with higher entry barriers, turnover figures that are below average, and also a higher loyalty index. Despite the higher skills required for performing crucial and high-pressure tasks, people still do not consider them as coveted propositions. Younger professionals and women do not always consider the sector in a favorable light, especially with increasing concerns over automation.
Manufacturing recruitment is now facing a skill gap, where new employees do not always have the necessary skills to succeed in the competitive sector. They are not prepared suitably by higher education institutions and most of them lack formal manufacturing education at the outset. Focusing on these skills automatically shrinks the pool of aspirants.
Automation is already taking care of several manual and repetitive manufacturing tasks, leading to an increased requirement for robotics skills. This is still a big issue for workers and companies need to step up efforts to tackle automating for efficiency.
Demographic trends present one of the biggest challenges to manufacturers. According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ most recent outlook survey, continually attracting and retaining a quality workforce constitutes one of the manufacturing industry’s top challenges.
Manufacturing Hiring Solutions to Overcome These Challenges
There are several strategic steps that manufacturing recruiters and companies can adopt to overcome the hurdles mentioned above. Some of these proactive measures include the following:
Addressing industry image issues
Companies should be more proactive in building their careers sections and portals. They should have testimonials from employees and demonstrate organizational diversity. At the same time, companies can offer skilling and training programs for workers without formal schooling/training while stating some of the solutions to the commonest issues of workers. Training may be provided within the aegis of the onboarding package for employers.
Building the Candidate Pipeline
Even when a manufacturing company is not currently recruiting, there should be an emphasis on developing the candidate pipeline or talent pool. Keeping the pipeline engaged and active will help companies meet future requirements efficiently.
Better benefits and treatment
Manufacturers need to rise beyond conventional methods of remuneration by offering competitive packages and benefits to prospective employees. Good treatment includes things like flexible and sufficient time off for health issues, stress, and vacations, along with things like referral/retention bonuses, retirement/investment options, and demonstrating a commitment towards feedback and diversity, inclusion, and equity programs.
Companies should clearly demonstrate pathways for future advancement with training and skill development. Paid apprenticeship/internship programs may also be deployed to train workers on the job and build a talent pool for the future.
Widening the candidate sourcing pool
Manufacturers can widen their recruiting horizons by partnering with recruitment/staffing agencies, and also looking at job boards, trade organizations, job portals, websites, social media platforms, colleges, universities, schools, trade schools, and more. They can also partner with aid and outreach entities which help people recover from various life situations and find employment.
Steps to hire suitable candidates for manufacturing units
Efficient manufacturing recruiting naturally starts with the identification of suitable personas of ideal candidates for the organization. The company should have a clear awareness of the people that it is attempting to hire. The biggest thing to remember is that tapping suitable professionals counts more than reaching out to every individual in the candidate pipeline. To do this, start with building a candidate persona, then create an attractive careers page, and post the jobs strategically across channels.
Let’s look at them one by one:
Build a candidate persona
Possessing a thorough understanding of an ideal and skilled candidate will naturally help in creating the right job listings or descriptions while enabling better promotions for the same as well. Companies can start with a couple of personas or maybe a single one for a specific job position or for a few types of jobs.
You should first identify candidate types that will be a good fit for high-pressure tasks or those jobs that you have to fill up immediately. This will naturally require you to list down the words or traits that best describe a suitable candidate for any position.
Do consult your HR and recruitment team along with the management and existing members of staff in order to build up these ideal candidate profiles/personas that you can now match with the talent that you have in your hiring pipeline.
Creating a career page
Manufacturing recruitment already has an image problem, as outlined above, and needs to be agile and responsive in terms of attracting the best talent to the sector. Hence, the importance of a reliable website and careers page cannot be denied in this regard. Companies should have career pages that help them scale up their overall visibility among candidates while also driving higher engagement.
Here are a few things that can be kept in mind:
- The careers page should be a website-wide priority, especially in layout/navigation.
- The page should be optimized with keywords and highly responsive and fast loading.
- The company’s vision and mission statements should be showcased, along with core values and philosophies.
- There should be detailed information on likely candidate queries, including working hours, salary structures, benefits, and other aspects.
- A frequently asked questions (FAQs) section will always be appreciated by visitors and helpful in answering basic questions without reaching out.
- Perks, vacation policies, and other rules and regulations should also be mentioned separately.
- The company culture, special events, and overall working environments should also be showcased on the careers page.
- There should be videos and images for users while the page should also be mobile-friendly above all else.
- There should be a form to apply quickly without any hassles along with points of contact for any queries.
The Careers page is one of the key aspects on your website that you should develop in a strategic manner. Requiring data from users like email addresses or phone numbers to proceed further will help you filter candidates and disqualify non-serious prospects as well.
Strategic job posting
Once you have a firm grasp on the audience you’re trying to reach, as well as solid content around Careers and specific positions, you can begin the process of distribution. It has scopes of experimentation but make sure that your job listings are optimized individually for all your target job boards, social media portals, traditional and local media platforms, paid media channels, community partners and agencies, and also career events like shows and job fairs.
Note there are DEI goals that companies adhere to as well. These should be properly highlighted across job listings and Careers pages. Candidates should clearly understand that the company wishes to build a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment for its employees. These days, DEI goals play a large part in defining the recruitment strategies of organizations and the manufacturing sector should not be an exception.
Combating the recruitment gap with smart strategies and technologies
Companies need to ramp up their efforts to address the current manufacturing hiring crisis that is plaguing the sector after COVID-19. We already understand that manufacturing companies should look to improve their overall communication, branding and reach. To implement at speed and scale, many companies are producing referral and recommendation programs that come with retention and signing bonuses along with perks and benefits for both parties. These are also proving to be handy recruitment channels in the manufacturing industry.
Filling up vacant job positions is a lot easier in today’s digitized environment that automates and streamlines recruitment procedures. ATS/CRM solutions can go a long way toward optimizing the candidate pipeline, engagement, and communication, along with scheduling. The need is a smart AI-based solution that can save time, energy, and resources for manufacturing recruitment, while fixing some of the core challenges faced by the sector.
Companies should also give some thought to the increasing DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) blueprint that is fast becoming a norm in most industries. They should look for technological solutions that help them adhere to DEI objectives, showing their commitment towards diversity, and making the workplace more inclusive and attractive to the modern workforce.
Technological tools can go a long way towards helping manufacturing companies get more control over their recruitment processes, enabling faster and better communication and engagement with prospects, drawing more skilled aspirants into the pipeline, and also taking care of assessments and scheduling at the same time. It can help them source candidates from a wider pool, while also combating several basic hiring hurdles faced by the sector in the aftermath of COVID-19.
A solution like Arya Quantum is an excellent option for manufacturing recruitment, readily integrating with existing CRM/ATS and offering talent sourcing abilities from more than 50 channels. It helps manufacturers shortlist, source, and choose the best talent while lowering costs and time spent in hiring simultaneously. It helps not only with resume/pipeline reviews and automated candidate engagement (via personalized Chatbots) but also holds live assessments online and posts job ads strategically throughout platforms. The best part is that companies can easily comply with all latest regulations and DEI objectives throughout the process.
What does a manufacturing recruiter do?
Your responsibility as a manufacturing recruiter is to find prospects for manufacturing businesses to hire. This typically entails conducting an interview, filtering out those who are unqualified, and helping with employee onboarding.
What are the largest types of manufacturing in the US?
Chemical manufacturing is the largest manufacturing subsector in the US, followed by computer and electronic products and food, beverage, and tobacco products.
How do you find manufacturing employees?
The strategies employed to source the right manufacturing employees include:
- Work on employer branding
- Market your roles on right platforms
- Invest in employee referrals
- Accommodate trainable talent
Who are considered manufacturing workers?
Manufacturing workers include people who work firsthand on the creation of new products either from raw materials or by assembling different components through physical, chemical, or mechanical means.
What’s the future of manufacturing?
Some of the major manufacturing industries trends in the post-covid times are:
- Requirement of effective communication for supply chain disruption
- Push for diverse hiring for an efficient and resilient workforce
- Balancing the new automation roles with manual roles
- Efforts to achieve carbon neutrality with workflow alterations
- Setup for continuous upskilling and development
What is the current growth rate of manufacturing industry?
The market size, measured by revenue, of the Manufacturing industry, is $8.8tr in 2022. In the US, it is expected to increase 14.2% in 2022
Where is the best place to post manufacturing jobs?
You can upload manufacturing posts on various job boards, social media, and online communities. However, a more optimal and economical way would be to post it via an AI recruitment tool that strategically pushes ads to all such relevant platforms under a single dashboard.