The manufacturing industry currently faces unprecedented challenges as it undergoes rapid transformation. This is driven by factors such as globalisation, technological advancements, and shifting consumer demands. Among these, one of the most pressing manufacturing industry challenges is the increasing need for skilled labour.
Automation and technology have revolutionised manufacturing processes, leading to significant improvements in efficiency and productivity. However, modern manufacturing positions demand a new set of proficiencies, such as:
This creates new manufacturing industry challenges and exacerbates existing labour shortages, and many of those in skilled jobs lack the necessary skills to excel in these evolving areas.
What are the four main obstacles contributing to the manufacturing talent shortage and what can employers do to combat them?
1. Misconceptions about manufacturing jobs
A key contributor to labour shortages and one of the primary obstacles to attracting skilled labour in manufacturing is the persistent misconception that these jobs are low-paying and offer limited growth opportunities.
It is vital for companies to emphasise competitive wages, benefits packages, and ample room for career advancement in their manufacturing roles. By showcasing the potential for professional development and growth, companies can attract a more diverse pool of talent. This approach will help to foster a more robust, skilled workforce that is better equipped to handle evolving manufacturing processes and demands.
Encouraging continuous learning and professional development is key to nurturing a skilled and adaptable workforce. By employers offering training programs, mentorship opportunities, and resources for skill enhancement, companies can empower their employees to grow and adapt to the industry's ever-changing demands.
2. High demand from competitors
Turnover rates in manufacturing are relatively high compared to other industries, sitting at 39% on average. Retaining skilled labour is a challenge in such a competitive market as workers are attracted to other industries that offer better working conditions and a positive company culture. Employers need to ensure that they provide competitive packages and a positive work environment.
Creating a supportive, inclusive work environment is crucial for retaining skilled labour. By fostering a culture that values diversity, collaboration, and employee well-being, companies can reduce turnover rates and ensure a more stable, engaged workforce.
3. An ageing workforce
In the UK there are currently 9.4 million people over 50 in employment, which accounts for over 30% of the manufacturing workforce. The increasing complexity of manufacturing processes combined with the dwindling interest in younger generations pursuing skilled worker jobs within the sector creates an ever-increasing skills gap employers are struggling to fill.
As experienced workers in the manufacturing industry approach retirement, it is essential to implement mentorship programmes that facilitate the transfer of valuable knowledge of manufacturing processes, fostering an environment of shared learning and growth.
4. Industry 4.0
Automation and technology have revolutionised manufacturing processes, leading to significant improvements in efficiency and productivity. These advancements, however, have disrupted traditional manufacturing jobs, causing a shift in the required skill sets for workers.
Industry 4.0 is called the fourth industrial revolution and is the general term used for technology which collects and analyses data to automate and streamline operational processes. Industry 4.0 is projected to grow from USD 130.90 billion in 2022 to USD 377.30 billion by 2029.
This innovation creates a whole new set of demand for skilled manufacturing talent such as:
To remain competitive in the face of Industry 4.0, manufacturing companies must invest in advanced technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things along with professionals proficient in these new technologies.
In addition to building a strong talent pipeline, companies should prioritise upskilling their current workforce. Providing employees with the necessary training to harness advance technologies enables companies to capitalise on the benefits of Industry 4.0 while simultaneously addressing the labour shortage.
Face the future with a skilled and adaptable manufacturing workforce
The manufacturing industry's ongoing transformation presents a unique set of challenges for employers filling skilled manufacturing jobs. By understanding these challenges and implementing targeted strategies to address them, companies can build a skilled, adaptable workforce able to compete and take advantage of the newest innovations in the sector.
Partnering with a specialised recruitment partner to source manufacturing talent has the added advantages of:
Precision People is a specialist search, recruitment, and consultancy services organisation focussed on providing a range of recruitment and people solutions for manufacturing organisations nationwide and beyond.
Get in touch today to build your manufacturing recruitment strategy.