Three Volume Hiring Challenges in Manufacturing (And How to Tackle Them)

Time to Read: 4.2 minutes

Updated: November 15, 2022

The success of the manufacturing sector largely depends on the capabilities of its manpower, and with a widening skill gap, manufacturing industries worldwide are facing immense pressure. As per a report published by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Unit Institute, in 2018, the manufacturing sector will experience an unprecedented employment shortfall between 2018 and 2028. The report further indicates that around 2.4 million jobs will go unfilled due to disparity between the skills required and skills owned by the talent pool capable of filling them.

The current changing landscape in Manufacturing is further paired with pandemic-led operations shutdown, process revamping, quickly developing technology, and outdated reputation of the industry. Far from the mass unemployment, the manufacturing sector will see a shortfall of workers, and therefore, productivity, if these gaps continue to remain unaddressed.

Naturally, filling the vacant positions in volume can be challenging for any industry. Particularly in the manufacturing sector, finding skilled workers in bulk will require HR personnel to craft and implement strong hiring strategies. Manufacturing firms often look for groomed individuals to perform the roles like technicians, plant managers, assemblers, supervisors, or more. For volume hiring, they shall know the latest ins and outs. Here is the list of main challenges faced by manufacturers in volume hiring in 2021.

1. Poor Perception and Ineffective Advertising Strategies

As per a survey, 62% of the skilled production vacancies posted in manufacturing are hard-to-fill. Out of them, 21% are attributed to ineffective advertising strategies and undesirable job characteristics, 16% due to lack of skills and knowledge gap, and 3% are due to applicant’s lack of interest in manufacturing. Such an approach is due to their perception and dispelled myth of considering manufacturing work as a ‘lesser convenient’ job. Perhaps, manufacturing industries should be willing to talk more about the purpose of their role in the present era of conscious consumerism. It is like selling the idea of a modernized career in manufacturing at an early stage. Meanwhile, manufacturers should consider re-building their reward model around skills, induce trade-focused career path-goal, and embrace fresh ways of working.

2. Raising Gap on ‘Qualification-Required’

With students showing less inclination toward jobs in manufacturing, studies tell that there is a sheer percentage (58% out of 70% of hard-to-fill vacancies) in manufacturing. Inability to meet educational requirements is one of the driving difficulties, caused by the decreased concentration of students in courses related to the manufacturing field. Plus, due to the high skill gap, an average US Manufacturer stands to lose 11% of their earnings annually. However, the STEM manufacturing units are less likely to experience challenges in volume hiring than non-STEM manufacturing units as per the research studies. Allowing younger generations to step out of their classrooms and gain hands-on experience in workshops can perhaps entice them to choose a career in the manufacturing sector.

3. Lengthy Recruitment Procedures

Apart from the shortage of staff with technical degrees, knowledge, and poor perception; lengthy recruitment procedures are also impacting businesses. It takes an average of 70 days to take a skilled worker on board. Now, when candidates have plenty of choices, high-skilled employees are hard to attract, recruit and then retain. Due to heating competitions all around, companies are offering great packages and incentives to potential applicants. It, of course, has made things difficult for marginal, small, and middle-level manufacturers. Naturally, good candidates will happily bend towards a company that will offer more in the shortest period possible.

Manufacturers trying to alleviate the challenges associated with volume hiring must reinvent their image and re-position themselves as valued, well-paying, and innovative jobs. Importantly, volume hiring is different from normal hiring, so shall be the approach. Then, how volume hiring in manufacturing should look like? Let’s walk through some important steps:

How to Tackle These Challenges?

Determine what you need: The foremost thing is that you shall be clear on what is required, and then, the tools to quickly check if the applicant meets those requirements or not.

Automate the process: No doubt, handling a volume of resumes, or job applications manually can tax your time and energy. Efficient techno-driven solutions need to be up and running before you begin volume hiring.

Plan the strategies to attract talent: Plan and apply attractive hiring strategies to make sure that the required job posting receives maximum responses. Use social media, digital signage systems, employee referrals to make the most of it.

Scrutinize applications: Use a techno-enabled solution to get the sheer volume of applications screened and filtered. It will easily get you a list of candidates for the next round.

Set up interviewing for volume hiring: One-to-One hiring will not make sense for volume hiring in manufacturing. Keep your hiring team ready for conducting group interviews.

Onboarding, finally: Take your new members on board, arrange an induction program and keep them up with adequate training.

Even with best hiring practices, manufacturers must know what metrics will matter much for them. Hiring, as a process and practice, keeps evolving differently with time. Remember, adopting the right technology and analytics in volume hiring will always remain a plus.

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Minakshi Sehrawat

Minakshi Sehrawat is a content writer that specializes in the HR industry. For the past 12+ years, she has worked with companies, social organizations, and newspapers offering writing services and solutions. Her strength is writing long-form content about HR, recruitment, management practices, technology, communities, and events.

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