The Changing Manufacturing Workforce – Industrial Staffing Trends to Watch

April 26th, 2013

Today’s workforce of manufacturers are far different than the workforce that operated the machines and belts 20 years ago. Technology, innovation, human resources, and other factors have all contributed to the environment in the manufacturing plant that is ever changing. There are hiring challenges in the manufacturing industry.

The United States is the biggest manufacturing economy in the world, employing 1/6 of the private sector jobs, around 17 million people. (Source: NAM.org)

However, when trying to attract employees to the workforce of manufacturers, there seems to be a large number of qualified candidates not applying because of their ‘idea’ of what the environment and atmosphere will be. It is these beliefs and myths about the manufacturing work that is putting up ‘barriers.’

So, what can the manufacturing industry do to break through these barriers to attract highly skilled workers?

  • Consolidate all the worker’s intellectual capital and give all employees login access.
  • Encourage shared insight from all employees about their jobs, including their suggestions on how to do things in a more streamlined manner.
  • The younger workforce expect to be able to use communication, open door methods, and idea sharing to excel in their careers, so having this in place is a great enticement to the qualified candidates in the younger generation.
  • BYOD, also known as Bring your own Device is a program that lets employees work from anywhere they want on their own equipment, while being connected to a secure network.
  • The BYOD program is very successful in increased employee productivity, while enhancing employee collaboration and plants. The BYOD program is a great incentive that can be used to attract and retain qualified, new employees.

Cisco published a report last year showing that 40% of survey respondents said they would take a job that paid less money, but offered more in their choice of device, mobility, and social media access than a job that paid more money with less flexibility. This is a huge piece of information that companies need to know in order to get the next generation employees on board. The innovative technology in the evolving manufacturer’s workforce in combination with the collaborative mindset is what the younger generation is looking for when they envision the future of the manufacturing plant.

How do we do this?

In order to give employees the ability to be mobile and work with devices, you need to implement technology and resources on the plant floor.

  • Tablets
  • Phones
  • Netbooks
  • Social Media
  • Instant access to non-networked employees (site managers, plant floor workers, project managers)

It is important that the front line workers in R&D, maintenance teams, sales, and all other teams are able to connect in a moment to get answers and resolve situations that can come up. Having access to all of these people and intertwining the way they can communicate will immediately elevate the production level of the manufacturing workforce, while inviting in a brand new generation of workers that are already tech savvy, and part of the newest technological trends.

Product development, sales, service, manufacturing, and even human resources should all be connected in order to extend knowledge where it needs to go, encourage collaboration globally in your plant, and deepen business ties and relationships within your own workforce. Stark Talent can help you to reach these goals, with on demand staffing support.

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