Manufacturers Continue to Face Hiring Challenges: Unique Strategies to Consider

Although COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives and transformed the workplace, one thing that has not changed is the challenge surrounding talent acquisition. While the U.S. unemployment rate has drastically decreased since the record-high rate of 14.7 percent in April 2020, at 6.3 percent, it is still nearly double the national unemployment rates from 2018 and 2019.

This has left many companies asking: why is it still so hard to fill vacancies, and what can we do to find quality hires quicker? Our team has identified three unique strategies for manufacturers to consider in order to address hiring challenges, including tapping into a broader workforce, hiring for potential, and strengthening employer branding.

Tapping into a Broader Workforce

While manufacturers are generally unable to employ a fully remote workforce, there are opportunities for them to consider expanding the talent pool by opening remote roles for sales, marketing, customer service, and supply chain positions. These types of jobs are typically external facing, making them easier to perform in a remote capacity.

With a much broader talent pool, companies have the benefit of accessing top talent from across the country, in some cases from all over the world, instead of only considering local talent. Additionally, if a manufacturer based in an area of high cost of living, they could find great, quality candidates at a lower price point in parts of the country that have lower costs of living.

Hiring for Potential

Manufacturers have arguably faced the biggest challenges in recruiting for production-based roles. With positions that tend to be high in turnover and a large workforce population approaching retirement, it sometimes feels like a revolving door.

One strategy that organizations can benefit from is changing their approach from skills-based hiring to hiring for potential. Because the market is not yielding a high volume of candidates with the necessary skills, companies should look for candidates that fit their culture and demonstrate the ability to learn quickly. These aspects can be measured and analyzed through a variety of tools, the most common being assessments. It is important to note that this approach is most effective when there are formal training programs in place, including objective-based plans with timelines and strong commitment from managers to support the programs.

Strengthening Employer Branding

According to a recent survey from Accountemps, 24% of job seekers ranked company culture as the most important factor to them. This signals that individuals, including ones who are currently unemployed, have a strong desire to work for a company with values that align to their own and are prioritizing opportunities based on an company’s employer brand. Further, an organization’s actions in times of crisis and uncertainty reflect their employer brand and will ultimately impact their ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent.

Job seekers will remember which employers rose to the occasion and which employers did not manage and lead well through this crisis. Actions that are not seen as “people-centric” during this time can have detrimental impacts to both consumer satisfaction and employer brand in the long run. Make sure to showcase how your leaders prioritize the safety of employees, customers, and communities, and your organization will become a more attractive option to candidates.

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