It is important for employers in the manufacturing sector to take stock of the developing trends and technologies that impact their industries in order to determine their future recruitment priorities.
Here are three key issues that will shape the employment agenda in the foreseeable future.
- Skills Shortage in a Booming Economy
The US economy has continued to march from strength to strength over the last two years because of lower taxes and less regulations. Manufacturing jobs have witnessed consistent growth over this period as economic optimism continues to prevail.
Until a few years ago, manufacturers regularly listed the state of the economy as their most serious challenge.
However, now the challenge of skills shortage has taken precedence over macro-economic concerns. Researchers suggest that more than 40 percent of manufacturers are worried about finding well-qualified workers.
Although skills shortage is nothing new, what compounds the issue now is the role of robotics and artificial intelligence in bridging the gap. In 2019 and beyond, there could be more clarity on that.
- Proactive Engagement to Meet the Skills Gap
Employers that are proactive about combating the skills gap will be able to compete and maximize the benefits of a growing economy. A number of manufacturing companies are now focusing on increasing their strength of temporary workers to meet demand.
According to a survey report, the largest percentage of respondents (39 percent) relies on staffing agencies to help fill skilled positions. Only a few manufacturing employers are offering enhanced benefit packages to attract full-time workers (15 percent).
As many as 30 percent of the surveyed manufacturing companies are joining hands with local colleges and universities to impart the latest skills that existing workers may be lacking. Some programs are focusing on re-skilling unemployed and under-employed adults to groom them for appropriate roles in manufacturing.
Manufacturers, staffing agencies and community organizations must continue to converge around common goals to help both workers and businesses to thrive in a growing economy.
- Including Flexible Workers in the Mix
Manufacturers often face specific challenges to flex work that are not seen in other industries. Making sure of shift coverage is vital for them because one minor hiccup can cause disruption in the entire work flow.
Workers in manufacturing typically have specific job functions and skills, and it is not easy to find a suitable replacement if someone drops a shift.
To address these challenges, manufacturers should create a substantive pool of flexible workers that can respond to unexpected production needs. Communication is vital, particularly with new workers who should know beforehand where to report, what to wear, and procedures such as clock-in/clock-out.
Tasks such as scheduling shifts, monitoring employees, and managing payroll can be more complicated when flexible workers are introduced to the mix. Automated software programs can be used to track the details of each candidate, including their availability, skill set, and contact information.
Manufacturing companies that have the foresight to anticipate emerging issues can work proactively to create solutions and alternatives well in time. These companies can transition smoothly and manage change most effectively to their competitive advantage.