We’ve talked about it before, hiring and keeping top talent in manufacturing is a challenge in today’s employment environment. In February 2015, the US Labor Department estimated that there were roughly 138 million jobs in the United States. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that just over 250,000 workers in the United States were classified as production workers. Almost 325,000 were inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers. Over 835,000 workers were team assemblists and approximately 400,000 were machinists and purchasing agents in the manufacturing sector.
If only 1% of all jobs in the United States are in manufacturing, the challenge is finding people who have developed (or are willing to develop) the right skills to be successful in your manufacturing environment.
So, how do manufacturers go about finding, attracting and keeping skilled manufacturing workers?
1. Find them early. Partner with your local technical colleges to develop internship programs to attract the best workers early in their careers.
2. Get tech-savvy. Today’s new manufacturing workers are well-versed in digital technology. Develop an online application process they can use to apply for your jobs right from their smartphones.
3. Be social. Find social media outlets that young manufacturing workers are using. Use Twitter to post available jobs.
4. Mentor. Partner new workers with more experienced workers and encourage an environment of mentorship. Consider a short apprenticeship program where your experienced, skill workers can pass along knowledge to new hires.
5. Find perks. When you’re competing against "sexier" industries, you need to develop perks for your employees to keep them longer. Develop contests, award programs or even provide breakfast or lunch once a week or once a month as an added perk of employment. It’s less expensive to invest in a few perks than recruit and hire new employees.
6. Reward longevity. If your employees know there is a program in place to reward them for their time in service, they may consider sticking around longer.
Manufacturing jobs aren’t going away. It’s important for all of us to continue to focus on how we can continue to find, develop and attract top talent to keep our manufacturing sector strong. As the nonwovens market continues to grow, it’s imperative that we all have the human resources to grow with it.