Combating the Skilled Labor Shortage in Manufacturing
There’s no doubt about it—2020 was a year for the books. We’re now midway through 2021, and substantial federal aid and rising vaccination rates are bolstering the economy. Last quarter, economic growth reached a robust annual rate of 6.4%, and economists envision an even faster pace for the current quarter.
All this growth—fueled by pent-up consumer spending—has propelled the demand for labor. As a result, nearly every industry is facing a labor shortage, and manufacturing is among the hardest-hit sectors of all.
May was a nightmare for many manufacturing employers, especially given how disappointing April was. US employers posted 559,000 jobs that month, following April’s measly job growth of just 278,000 postings. The bulk of those jobs were in hospitality, while retail, construction, and manufacturing sectors remained stagnant or even shed jobs.
Many businesses blame the extra $300-per-week federal unemployment benefits for discouraging jobless individuals from taking work. In response, governors in 25 states—all of whom are republican—started cutting off government benefits in June before they expire nationally on September 6. Still, it’s clear that the labor shortage is an economic reality, not just a left/right squabble.
Because of all this, manufacturing employers have no choice but to get creative with the hiring process. It may not seem like it, but plenty of smart, qualified people are out there looking for work. The trick is to find them, appeal to them, and retain them. Here’s how.
- Be a choice employer: Applicants have options. Your goal is to make them want to work for you over anyone else. Start by raising pay and benefits, and offer paid training, if you can. Then, consider paying workers weekly or even daily instead of every two weeks. Perhaps most importantly, be sure to clearly articulate the company culture, mission, and growth opportunities in every job posting.
- Conduct exit interviews: Don’t let employees leave without finding out why. Their feedback can help you identify and respond to systemic, underlying issues.
- Hire the right way: Are you looking for new, long-term talent? Direct hire is probably the way to go. Or does your company have a variable workload? Rather than hiring when business is up and firing when business is down, consider contract hiring.
- Don’t let opportunities pass you by: When you find an applicant you like, make your move immediately. Offering the candidate a job the same day you interview them is a simple way to combat the skilled labor shortage.
- Partner with a talent agency: Finding qualified candidates is easier said than done. Progressive Reliability leverages an effective talent acquisition process that sets us apart from the rest. That’s why we’re certain we can deliver qualified professionals to help you fill even the most challenging niche positions.
If you’re ready to enhance your talent strategy and combat the labor shortage in manufacturing once and for all, give us a call at 833-758-0070 or contact us online. We would love to help you get started.