Manufacturing recruiters are discovering that there is a type of renaissance occurring within the industrial sector. Many companies are now aggressively looking to hire skilled laborers, and those tasked with identifying and placing these individuals are seeing a much higher number of needs coming their way. However, in order to fill these increased openings, recruiters have to be extremely creative in their sourcing practices.
According to LNS Research, citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, within 15 years, the baby boomer generation, which represents nearly half of the current manufacturing workforce in the U.S., will retire. Replacing these highly skilled individuals with younger counterparts will be a challenge for recruiters because those making up the millennial generation have a negative perception of manufacturing as a whole.
The millennial recruiting challenge in industrial sector
Currently, there is a disconnect that exists with individuals just entering the workforce in relation to what they think the manufacturing industry is actually like. Many millennials feel that the sector is one wrought with danger that involves menial tasks devoid of creativity. This particular generation is extremely savvy when it comes to technology, and they enjoy using electronic gadgets in their daily lives, whether at work or play.
In fact, according to LNS Research, many don't even realize that the industry has begun rapidly adopted automation as a way to streamline operations and stay up-to-date on the latest technology that can help them maintain operational efficiency. There are other items that are becoming common sights in manufacturing environments as well – such as 3-D printers, wearable technology and both augmented and virtual reality tools.
These are the kinds of materials that can be extremely attractive for millennials, but because they are unaware of them, the manufacturing sector is of little interest. Then there is the issue of salary.
Many of those comprising the younger workforce are under the impression that the industrial sector involves hard work with minimal pay. However, LNS Research cited data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis which revealed the average annual salary in the U.S. is $62,546. However, in the manufacturing sector it is $77,506.
Recruiters must begin educating millennial candidates on the changes that are occurring in manufacturing to make it more enticing and attractive. However, if that doesn't work, there is a large pool of international workers with industry experience that can be drawn from as well.
International skilled laborers looking for work in the U.S.
The American manufacturing sector will always be one needing a strong workforce. However, if domestic candidates are uninterested, those from other countries will gladly come to the U.S. and work, according to a report from Forbes Magazine citing research conducted by Boston Consulting Group.
Polling 200,000 people from 187 different countries, 42 percent stated that working in the U.S. would be an attractive option for them. Additionally, a large majority of people with manufacturing experience and who live in countries such as the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, China, Russia and others, stated that they would have no problems leaving their homeland to capitalize on employment opportunities elsewhere.
"It's a world in which the geographic barriers to employment are coming down, including in the minds of some of the most talented and highly educated workers," Rainer Strack, senior partner at BCG told Forbes. "This is opening up significant opportunities for individuals and for the many countries and multinational companies that are facing talent shortages of one sort or another."
All of this is good news for manufacturing recruiters who are looking to satisfy their clients by providing them with highly skilled individuals who can come in be an asset from day one.