H Talent

Modern manufacturers are attracting and retaining talent with these tactics

June 21, 2023
Enact pay-transparency practices.

While the “war for talent” has been ongoing for years now, recent data shows that it is not letting up any time soon. Our latest Manufacturing Industry Pulse report, which surveys manufacturing executives on top trends throughout the year, found that half of manufacturers plan to increase their workforce within the next 12 months. Of those companies, two-thirds plan to increase their workforce by more than 5% and nearly 20% plan to increase their workforce by more than 10%.

Further, labor shortages and increased labor costs are both factors contributing to executives’ low optimism. In fact, more than half of manufacturers rated their optimism of business prospects over the next six months a seven or lower on a scale of one to 10. At the same time, 43% of respondents reported a consistent or increased customer demand, further emphasizing the need for a strong workforce.

So, how can manufacturers better attract and retain talent to fill their needs?

Explore alternative hiring strategies

With many manufacturers planning for impressive growth over the next 12 months, traditional hiring tactics may not be enough to get in front of prospective talent. One way to boost the talent pool is to consider recruiting from other industries, particularly industries impacted by recent layoffs such as technology. Our Manufacturing Industry Pulse found that 77% of manufacturers were able to fill open positions faster when taking advantage of layoffs in other industries.

Another strategy worth consideration is using temporary workers to fill talent needs. Especially with the current, volatile economy, temporary workers enable manufacturers to meet customer demands without making long-term commitments. 57% of survey respondents say it is possible they will use temporary workers in the next 12 months.

Optimize recruitment efforts

Manufacturers can also streamline their recruiting and hiring processes to improve talent-acquisition efforts. Sikich’s survey found that 26% of respondents were able to fill open positions faster by streamlining their processes. By implementing systems to effectively manage candidate flow, reviewing and standardizing recruitment processes, and training managers to conduct effective interviews, manufacturers will attract talent at a faster pace and are more likely to come out ahead when candidates are interviewing with multiple organizations.

Lastly, consider engaging an external recruiter, especially when hiring for leadership positions or hard-to-fill technical roles. Leveraging the expertise and reach of recruitment consultants provides manufacturers with an advantage in today’s hyper-competitive market and can add significant value to an organization. In fact, 23% of survey respondents indicated that investing in external recruitment services led to filling roles quicker.

Enact pay-transparency practices

Pay transparency—defined by WorldatWork as the degree to which employers are open about what, why, how and how much employees are compensated and to what degree they allow employees to share that information with others—is a hot topic across many industries. Manufacturers can use pay transparency to attract talent while also signaling to the company’s inclusive culture. Including compensation levels on open roles can help attract the right talent and eliminate stigma that manufacturing jobs are low-paying positions.

Some states have already enacted pay-transparency laws, with many other states considering adopting similar regulations. Yet less than one third of Manufacturing Industry Pulse respondents already have or plan to have pay-transparency policies in the next 12 months. Implementing a pay-transparency policy today can be a win-win for manufacturers—it not only helps them better attract talent but also puts them ahead of any future regulations.

Ensure competitive pay

When it comes to retaining your workforce, competitive pay and benefits are necessary to keep top talent. The Manufacturing Industry Pulse found that manufacturing wages are increasing much faster than years past. Eighty-one percent of executives responded that the current wage increases are at least somewhat higher than the past five years, with 36% responding that they are significantly higher. It is important to ensure that wages are competitive and compensation cycles are fair.

About the Author

Laura Fischer

Managing director, human capital management and payroll consulting at Sikich