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Overcoming Recruitment and Retention Challenges in Manufacturing

Recent statistics demonstrate that manufacturing is a major contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy, as well as to that of the nation. In fact, Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector contributes on average of $84 billion to the economy each year, which makes the Keystone State the eighth largest manufacturing state in the nation.

To remain competitive, the manufacturing sector needs to constantly embrace new forms of technology — much of it disruptive in nature. And when you consider that Pennsylvania alone has over 14,000 registered manufacturing companies that combined need in excess of half a million skilled workers to effectively operate, you begin to understand the very real HR challenges in manufacturing — such as recruiting and retaining manufacturing employees.

With over three decades of experience helping thousands of manufacturers throughout South Central Pennsylvania realize their economic and competitive potential, MANTEC has a unique perspective on best practices pertaining to the recruitment and retainment of manufacturing talent. To help professionals in HR and leadership positions address related issues in a fundamentally proactive manner, we’ll share some of those best practices here.

Employee Recruitment in the Manufacturing Sector

A recent survey found that eight out of 10 manufacturers are concerned about not being able to meet their talent demands over the upcoming five years. When you combine this outlook with the fact that the average manufacturing employee in Pennsylvania currently earns around $59,800 — a salary that’s considerably better than the average American worker’s wages — you can see that typical recruitment strategies in this highly competitive sector are more likely than ever to fall short.

To better address your talent recruitment needs, consider thinking about talent in much the same way you think about your supply chain. In other words, without talent, your business can’t operate effectively. In today’s marketplace, maintaining a steady talent supply involves reaching out to potential talent with clear, consistent messaging and an attractive employer brand — much like your product brand but with the perspective switched from the consumer to the employee. Remember that your employer brand should include insights into your company’s mission, values, culture and working conditions.

In addition, reaching talent is no longer about simply posting positions when they open up. By fostering apprenticeships, internships and mentorship programs, you can begin to reach tomorrow’s talent today, which is critical to ensuring a robust, continuous supply of talent.

Employee Retention in the Manufacturing Sector

From the moment you hire a new employee and begin their onboarding process, you already have a large impact on that employee’s retention. This factor is why living up to the employer brand you communicated during the recruitment process is so crucial. If you bill yourself as a forward-thinking employer that embraces new ideas and technology, you’re far more likely to attract people who are open to new thoughts, technology and the training needed to master these exciting developments.

In contrast, if you don’t fully embrace the development and ongoing training that your talent requires, how long will it take for them to feel dissatisfied and frustrated by the cultural dissonance between what they thought working at your company was all about and what it really turns out to be?

In short, talent retention is an ongoing commitment to provide employees with the training and skills they need to feel of vital importance to your company. When leaders communicate that in-house talent development is an organizational priority, the rewards in higher retention rates can be substantial.

To learn more about successful manufacturing, talent recruitment, retention strategies or any of MANTEC’s other consulting services, contact us today.

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