The challenge of filling Manufacturing Jobs goes beyond the skills gap

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find workers with adequate manufacturing skills. This commonly acknowledged problem – known as the “skills gap” – has led to calls for education and development of the next generation of the skilled trades labor force. While such reform is critical to the future, it doesn’t address the current issues facing manufacturers in today’s world. Below are five reasons why a “strategy gap” is compounding the challenges of filling manufacturing jobs from the available workforce.

Inability to “Sell” the Job

In the past, manufacturers had a large and consistent pool of skilled laborers ready to work for a reasonable rate. They didn’t have to try very hard to fill positions, and were able to dictate the terms of employment.

Things have changed.

Manufacturers need to accept that it is an “employees market” where candidates have more options and more power in choosing where they want to work. Companies are competing for talent, and therefore have to “sell” their job as the best available option for potential skilled workers.

Lack of HR Skills

With an abundance of resumes in hand, a company has the freedom to be particular about a variety of things that may or may not be crucial skills. But in an employees market, where the openings for manufacturing jobs outnumber the skilled workers ready to fill said positions, a company does not have the luxury of being picky.

It is vital for HR to have a strong understanding of the talent needs of their company, and a clear strategy for assessing the candidates abilities to fill those needs. Screening practices that remove potential candidates from consideration need to be challenged, and a focus on the transferable value of skills should be a priority.

Traditional Recruitment Roadblocks

Manufacturers need to look outside of the traditional approaches to recruiting talent. A “post it and they will come” attitude won’t cut it in the highly competitive manufacturing job market. An ability to “sell” the position, coupled with a willingness to put in the extra work to recruit outside the box, will result in more leads for a company. Whether it is hosting an open house, or attending jobs fairs at trade schools, manufacturers need to be proactive in seeking out skilled workers and talent.

Know Your Competition

It is easy for a manufacturer to assume that their candidates are solely interested in landing manufacturing jobs. But the reality of the market is that workers are willing to secure employment in any field that provides them job security, financial gain, and flexibility. Just because someone is an in-demand skilled worker does not mean they will take a job within the manufacturing industry – if they have a better offer elsewhere, why would they stay loyal to one particular industry?

Manufacturers oftentimes fail to recognize that their competition comes in many different shapes and sizes, and their offers need to be competitive and enticing regardless of “industry standards” or averages.

Unrealistic Expectations

To reiterate an issue presented above, it makes very little sense for a skilled worker to take a job within manufacturing if they are offered a better position in a different field. Manufacturers can’t expect to recruit or retain talent if they aren’t paid well, offered opportunities to learn new skills, given adequate time off, or given a clear path to upward mobility. It is unrealistic for a company to think a subpar job offer is an “easy sell” to workforce that knows it is in high demand.

Catalyst Connection’s organization development services help manufacturers bridge the strategy gap by providing services aimed at correcting the above issues. Through a strong belief that an organization is successful only through the selection and development of effective employees, Catalyst Connection provides help with talent attraction and retention, leadership development, HR strategy and performance management, and succession planning.

While oftentimes daunting, the challenges facing manufacturers can be addressed and overcome through a creative approach and well thought out strategy. Catalyst Connection is ready to help manufacturers become an employer of choice.