In the manufacturing sector, recruiting employees is harder now than at any time during the past nine years, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) report. In fact, one-third of HR professionals in manufacturing have said in recent months that they can’t fill an open position.
The Worker Shortage in the Manufacturing Industry is Real
More than 75 percent of manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers, plus, a significant portion of the manufacturing workforce is nearing retirement age. Perhaps the most serious recruiting challenge is manufacturing’s negative image among young people.
Over the next decade, there could be a shortage of 2 million manufacturing employees. That’s because there just aren’t enough workers with the skills and training needed for modern manufacturing, according to a report released earlier this year by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. About 2.7 million workers are expected to retire in the next 10 years, while 700,000 new jobs are projected to result from business growth.
Despite these changes, many manufacturers are still using the same HR tactics that were used 10 years ago, the Deloitte study noted. Many HR professionals in this sector focus on talent development and succession planning for their salaried workforce, at the expense of most of the workers on the factory floor. With this in mind, it’s imperative that recruiters and human resource leaders in the manufacturing space take an innovative approach to recruiting using a marketing model.
Manufacturing Recruiting Digital Marketing Strategies
Candidate marketing consists of all activities for building and maintaining your employer brand, extending reach and exposure of career opportunities, building and nurturing candidate relationships, and management of messaging and advertising of talent acquisition efforts. Because the manufacturing industry has been slower than others to adopt a digital strategy for recruiting, this is one area where you and your company can stand out to the manufacturing talent you want to hire.
Here are a few areas to focus on to improve your reach for manufacturing positions in the digital space.
Marketing Funnel Engagement. Marketing teams are familiar with funnel engagement; if you haven’t already, consider adapting the same process for your candidate marketing. Developing personas specific to your manufacturing positions, mapping out how and where you’re reaching them, and reporting on the results are inherently useful to the hiring process. Your talent funnel, or pipeline, allows you to not only recruit for the positions you have open now, but for those you may need to fill in the future.
Using recruitment marketing means that you’re engaging in more meaningful conversations to gain perspective on the career goals of the talent in the manufacturing industry. Talent pipelining allows you to better personalize your messages, answer questions, build relationships, and most importantly, to automate your job postings. Your candidate database and social media platforms become more than sourcing tools – they become relationship-building platforms.
Programmatic Advertising. Because your candidate funnels are built on strategy, this is where programmatic advertising comes in. It’s one way for your company to drive qualified and highly targeted traffic to your job postings more efficiently than traditional job advertising with job boards. In the talent marketplace, programmatic advertising has one significant difference from standard CPC ad buys. While job ads can be created and scaled, unlike traditional digital advertising, job ads have an end date. Once a position is filled, it should and can be immediately pulled from an ad buy. The biggest benefit to this type of advertising is that you can build relationships and target specific candidate groups by inviting them a apply for a job or to attend a virtual career fair.
Social Media. With 76% of all U.S. internet users on social media (Pew, 2015), and 92% of employers using social media (The Muse), social channels are low-cost and necessary channels for broadcasting your job openings. Additionally, the audience on social media skews slightly younger, and a presence on Facebook and Instagram can help you broadcast what makes your manufacturing jobs appealing and why a younger demographic should consider developing skills in your industry.
In some industries, like technology, LinkedIn is the go-to platform. With more than 6.5 million jobs posted and 500 million members, nearly 90% of recruiters report using LinkedIn to attract and source candidates. However, the candidate audience for manufacturing looks different than the audience for tech jobs. In this case, Facebook is the best network to engage job seekers in this industry. Set up a city-specific industry group on Facebook and invite your employees to share with their networks. You can geo-target organic and sponsored posts to reach Facebook or Instagram users in the cities where you want to recruit.
Consider online or digital job fairs on social media. Host online chats or digital-specific office hours to engage, attract, and build relationships with your target online community. Use online ads or other tools to drive candidates to a specific destination where you qualify the talent first, then invite them to an in-person event. A Facebook chat bot can be a great way to keep candidates engaged when your team is not available to talk with them directly.
In the manufacturing sector, companies are competing for highly skilled candidates who are already in the workforce. Recruitment marketing can give you an edge on your competition for reaching both passive candidates and an audience who might not have considered positions in your industry before. Because closing the skills gap is key, having an information-driven campaign allows you to use content marketing to provide potential candidates with ideas on apprenticeships, continued education, and certifications specific to manufacturing.