How to Recruit Manufacturing Talent

In the manufacturing arena, recruiting employees is harder now than at any time during the past decade. In fact, one-third of HR professionals in manufacturing have said in recent months that they can’t fill an open position.

There are several reasons why. One, more than 75 percent of manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers. Two, a serious amount of the manufacturing workforce is nearing retirement age. Three, stop hiding. Seven in 10 manufacturing executives surveyed by Deloitte noted that many manufacturers are still using the same HR tactics that were used 10 years ago. One of those tactics is one of anonymity.  Manufactures have a way of not promoting themselves or their opportunities.   And, four—and perhaps the most serious recruiting challenge—is manufacturing’s negative image among young people.  Here are three tips for recruiting new manufacturing talent.

Invest in Employees

To attract and retain young talent newer manufacturers emphasize that they offer more than a job. “It’s readily apparent when you walk into the facility what kind of culture exists there. And smart companies invest in their workers,” says Weil of The Manufacturing Institute. “Smart companies help their workforce, even hourly workers, understand their career growth and what opportunities can be there for them when they apply themselves in their positions.”  One manufacturer in NYC post a skills matrix on a large bulletin board where all employees can see it and list all the machines and tasks required within a specific department along with each employee’s skill level. With that being said – investing also mean training.  There aren’t tons of places in the U.S. where people can learn the art of garment construction and patternmaking, so some of that is going to fall on our manufactures.

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Change Perception

If manufacturing has any hope of attracting workers, it must deal with its image problems. Our manufacturing image in the US isn’t as damaged as some other countries, but manufacturing jobs aren’t deemed as sexy as working in a brand showroom. I for one believe that’s unfortunate because manufacturing jobs for today’s companies are dope.   Being an artisan today is cool.  Use that to your advantage in recruiting. Make an effort to use social media to promote your company as a brand, not just a place the makes stuff.

Broaden Your Search

Reach out to local and community colleges to partner with and possibly start an apprenticeship program that can lead to employment. Not only will you be recruiting talent, you’ll also be creating a workforce.

Use A Recruiting Service

There are a number of sources to post jobs – Linkedin, Style Careers, and etc. The newest and most inexpensive would be Sandra|Don. Sandra|Don is a fashion/lifestyle job site. It was made with small to mid-size fashion/lifestyle companies including manufacturers in mind.  It’s understandable why manufacturers don’t do a lot of job board posting, the cost is high.  To post a job on Sandra|Don it only cost $50.  With that job post, you can search through the Sandra|Don database, track and email applicants, and create a company profile to promote and brand your company.

Of course, competitive pay is an honorable mention. But that alone isn’t enough. Employees want to know they’re appreciated. They want opportunities to advance. They want good management. They want their ideas to be heard.

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Ultimately, retaining those prized skilled workers “comes down to one basic thing—and that’s how you treat your people.”

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