After dropping sharply last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global recession, manufacturing activity has rebounded, production is likely to exceed pre-pandemic levels in the next couple months, and employment in the sector has risen in all but one month since April 2020. In the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) first-quarter 2021 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, manufacturers reported an increase in optimism for the third straight quarter. The survey found that 87.6% of manufacturers felt either somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook. The number bounced back from the 33.9% reading in the second quarter of 2020, which was the worst since the Great Recession.
Keys to Recruiting Manufacturing Employees
While the outlook and industry growth is positive, the industry still faces supply chain challenges, and companies continue to report severe workforce challenges in recruiting and staffing. The shortage of talent runs from entry-level to highly skilled positions, which means recruiters have to work to recruit entry-level talent that is most likely to be interested in career development and training so that their current workforce can become the future skilled workforce that closes the skills gap.
The good news is that the manufacturing industry has experienced a skilled labor shortage that goes back a decade. Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute estimated in a 2018 study that as many as 2.4 million factory jobs could remain unfilled through 2028 because of a tight labor market and a lack of people with the needed skills. This means we have two large problems in this sector: a shortage of skilled workers and a shortage of candidates for all roles.
Job Postings That Sell Your Manufacturing Roles
HR leaders will need to understand the tech road map for their organizations in order to update job descriptions and recruitment marketing strategies. According to the Deloitte study, 47 percent of manufacturing jobs will be gone in the next decade because of the shift to more technology – and the pandemic only accelerated this estimate. Overall staffing will be higher, but the jobs will be different.
That said, relying on best practices in recruiting, or going back to the basics, could be helpful – but the pandemic gives us some new points to focus on as well. Here, we’ll go over some solid best practices for creating and promoting job postings in manufacturing.
- Start with your job descriptions. These are the pieces of content that live on your careers website and give candidates a bigger snapshot of what you presented in your job posting.
- Focus less on what you think you need with regards to a candidate’s past experience and more on what’s needed to do the job, especially for roles that require technical skills.
- Make sure the characteristics of the job are present in your job posting as specifically as you can get. Vague postings are a time-waster for you and candidates that apply without getting the whole picture.
- Look at what your competitors are posting. Are they selling or are they scrambling? How are they differentiating themselves from your company? And how can you do the same?
- Choose a job title that your intended candidate audience will be searching for, and consider bulking it up with a top benefit you offer.
- If every company in your sector is following the same format for job postings, change yours. It could be small wording changes or something more specific that your company is doing; you want your job postings to stand out.
- It might sound counterintuitive, since your primary goal is to “sell” your job openings, but get rid of any language that sounds like an opinion. You have to be able to describe the role in your job posting, but using language like “amazing opportunity” or “exciting new technology.” Amazing and exciting are subjective; stick to the objective.
- Create or improve apprenticeship programs and make them part of your recruitment marketing.
- If your EEO statement simply states that your company is an equal opportunity employer, consider expanding on it to be more specific about underrepresented groups. Need some ideas? Here’s a great list of EEO best practices.
- Nearly every manufacturer on the planet is familiar with safety protocols after the past year (and are hopefully continuing to use them). If your company is sticking with stringent safety measures, include it in your posting.
- You don’t have to guess what candidates want. They want the same thing we all do: competitive pay and benefits, work-life balance, career development opportunities, appreciation for hard work… it sounds simple because it is.
As companies struggle with hiring in manufacturing, we need to focus on our job postings to ensure they are optimized for the best possible reach. Remember the goal is to increase candidate flow into hiring funnels without sacrificing candidate quality. Your job postings should be specific enough to disqualify candidates that would not be a good fit and engaging enough to make candidates click to apply (or click through to your careers page for more information).