In the United States, the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt throughout the manufacturing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the sector has gradually regained footing since experiencing an activity and hiring decline in 2020 but the unemployment numbers remain high. As of February 2022, the unemployment rate for the manufacturing industry was at 3.2%, with more job openings and separations logged compared to the start of the year.
Understandably, the way to achieve industry growth through manufacturing recruiting looks different than in previous years — but what has stayed consistent is that the private sector has the highest demand for manufacturing talent. If you are an employer in the manufacturing industry, keep reading to learn more about critical manufacturing trends that impact recruitment post-pandemic.
Manufacturing Industry Outlook In the U.S.
We highlight some of the major manufacturing trends that employers and job seekers are facing below. For each of the manufacturing trends, we will share why they matter for employers today.
Manufacturers Continue To Experience Disruptions
A survey by the National Association of Manufacturers on around 600 respondents reflected how COVID-19 had impacted their business. In total, 35.5% of the participants shared that they faced significant changes in their supply chain.
Some firms have followed the recommendation of repurposing their supply chains to “help societies manage the urgent challenges of COVID-19.” As a result, many firms have adjusted their manufacturing recruiting efforts.
A firm must have the specialized talent to address supply chain disruptions, causing a rising trend of time-sensitive talent search with a narrowed focus on candidate skill sets that can address a firm’s challenges.
Attracting and Retaining a Quality Workforce Is Still a Top Concern
A Deloitte study titled “Competing for Talent: Recasting Perceptions of Manufacturing” found that 83% of manufacturers still face challenges in finding the right people to fill roles in various levels.
This could be attributed to workers preferring to be employed in other industries, like services and retail, to manufacturing, with only 64% saying they view the sector as “innovative.” This is critical to the industry’s growth, especially as manufacturing has a major role in economic and pandemic recovery efforts. The outdated public perception of work in manufacturing greatly affects the recruitment of new talent.
Need for a Safe and Flexible Workforce
Another challenge that manufacturing companies face is safety and flexibility in the workplace. Many companies have changed their workplace guidelines to ensure worker safety.
These changes include new safety protocols for on-site workers and remote work policies for various positions.
One safety trend that has impacted hiring in manufacturing is the need for social distancing. This shift has caused recruiters to rely on technology to support talent acquisition.
Using advanced technology has been a rising trend within the recruiting industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how and why recruiters rely on it.
In the past, recruiters used technology to expand their candidate networks to candidates outside their local area. Now, recruiters must use the same technology to find candidates, interview them, and even onboard them if the position is remote.
More Companies Are Building a Digital Strategy
According to Forbes, the down-level impacts of COVID-19 in the manufacturing industry has resulted in many companies focusing on digital transformation strategies.
A manufacturing leadership survey revealed that 87% of respondents were dedicated to digital initiatives. However, only 14% of those respondents believed their programs had appropriate funding to meet their goals.
This passion for digital change impacts hiring in the manufacturing industry by changing what an ideal candidate looks like. Specifically, this new focus changes the skillset that a recruiter might look for during a talent search.
If a firm is passionate about implementing digital change but isn’t sure where to start, they’ll need a candidate with manufacturing experience as well as experience in digital transformation. To meet that need, manufacturing recruiters must adjust how they assess a candidate’s qualifications to ensure that they find the most fitting talent.
Stronger White House Support
The Biden-Harris Administration has expressed its commitment to enhance American supply chains and launch initiatives that would bring more manufacturing activities back home. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in February 2021 that targets to fix supply chain vulnerabilities, including working with semiconductor chip manufacturers to improve operations and workforce concerns over time.
With more protection, support, and benefits afforded to manufacturing firms, who at one point brought their production activities outside of the U.S., the country can expect to see more well-paying opportunities available to match skills. In effect, this would encourage more Americans to consider fruitful careers in the semiconductor and manufacturing industries. It would do companies well to learn more about the Biden Administration’s industrial push and see how this would benefit them.
Are you looking for high-quality manufacturing and semiconductor talent to aid you as your company adapts to industry changes and trends?