by Susan Jeffery
06 Feb 2020
Addressing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing: Recruitment and Candidate Attraction
Read Chapter 1 in our story of Addressing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing: Labor Shortage and Associated Factors
Recruitment and Candidate Attraction
Nearly half of all manufacturing and engineering jobs in the UK (43 percent) are considered hard to fill - the highest of any sector. So how do you attract skilled workers when manufacturing is not, say, as trendy as the burgeoning tech start-up industry, or as financially lucrative as the banking sector? It’s all about how you position your brand.
“If you’re advertising a position along the lines of ‘come join the number one plastics manufacturing company in the world’, potential candidates today will be like ‘yeah, so what?’,” says Geoffroy de Lestrange, Director Product Marketing, EMEA, at Cornerstone. “But if you say, ‘help our organization develop new products for a more sustainable world in plastics’, then people will be curious.”
Where should you focus your attention to find I4 savvy candidates?
Well, if you’re not reaching out to your competitors’ talent, you should know that they will be reaching out to yours. For new graduates, however, you need to go to them. Job fair days at universities and forming partnerships with private and public education organizations are both good starting points. For example, Samsung do open factory tours to college students. You also need to advertise on the social media platforms your target demographics tend to use, such as Instagram, or even live-streaming video game channels. Chances are that your manufacturing processes are visually entertaining, too, which helps when advertising on multimedia platforms.
“For example, if you work in industrial robotics, a video of two robots carrying a huge exhaust pipe for a truck and a third robot welding is very, very impressive,” says de Lestrange.
You should also look to cast your talent net wider than STEM students.
“When it comes to understanding clients, trends, and co-workers, you need quite a lot of soft skills, which might not be best learned in an engineering school,” suggests de Lestrange. One group that boasts plenty of these skills is the often overlooked 55-plus age demographic. UK government research shows this demographic is being sought after more and more - for its experience, loyalty and reliability. “Would you prefer to hire someone who is 25 and may stay four years in your company? Or someone who is 55 and may stay 10 years in your company until retirement?” asks de Lestrange.
Where do you look for older workers?
Don’t overlook a good old fashioned recommendation. “People talking to people, as far as we are concerned at Cornerstone, is our recruiting method number one,” says de Lestrange.
Whoever you recruit, all of your workers - young and old - will need sufficient training programs in place to keep pace with the skills required to navigate I4, which we’ll talk about next. Look for Chapter 3 in our series on manufacturing, called "Bridging the Skills Gap."