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Strategies to Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap in Your Company

January 18, 2023 | Staffing Blog

The manufacturing industry currently needs more skilled workers. Baby boomers are aging out of the workforce and being replaced by younger workers who do not have the same experience and knowledge as their predecessors.

It has become difficult for many companies to find people with the skill sets they’re looking for to fill their manufacturing jobs.

Suppose you’re a business owner or a hiring manager. In that case, you may be concerned that the current manufacturing skills gap is so prevalent among manufacturing workers that you can’t find the right talent for your roles.

While the gap is significant, there are steps you can take to protect your company from the ramifications of the lack of skilled manufacturing workers. Let’s start with a revised approach to viewing talent.

Shift Your Focus to Address the Manufacturing Skills Gap

The Manufacturing Institute recently released a report evaluating the importance of adaptive skills in helping build the manufacturing sector of the future. The main point is that manufacturers need to view talent differently.

From the report: “One of the answers to addressing this shortage lies less in finding the exact experience and manufacturing skills to fill specific roles but more in adapting a flexible view of potential talent.”

Manufacturers should look at their current roster to see if there are high-performing workers who could be trained to fill critical roles.

You can also look for outside talent who possess “transferrable skills” they can bring over from other industries and disciplines that fit within the manufacturing environment. Instead of trying to find talent with the exact experience you are looking for, manufacturers can bring on talent with baseline skills, then provide them with additional resources and training to grow into the role.

Pivoting to this way of thinking requires some changes. But it’s doable. Consider implementing strategies to smooth out the transition.

Implement 3 Strategies to Address the Manufacturing Skills Gap

Discover our three recommendations for closing the skills gap within your company.

1. Be Flexible Filling Roles

When considering candidates for an open position within your company, you probably consider each candidate in relation to the opening you’re trying to fill. For example, if you have an opening for a product manufacturing specialist, you likely look for people who have experience in manufacturing similar products.

However, when you limit employees –  both current and potential – to a certain role within your company, you may be missing out on an opportunity to utilize their full capabilities.

When looking for skilled laborers to fill newly opened positions within your company, don’t forget to start with the people who are already working for you.

If you can find someone you’re already employing who possesses the skills to take over an open position, you can save time and money since you won’t go through the process of hiring a new employee. You will also reap the benefits of hiring someone who already knows your company’s policies and procedures.

2. Pass Along Knowledge

The manufacturing industry, like every other industry in the world, is heavily impacted by advances in technology. With that in mind, many methods used within the world of manufacturing have been the same for decades or longer.

As an employer, it’s important that you encourage your employees to transfer their knowledge to those around them. While there is certainly no doubt that young people are often more familiar with technology due to it being so prevalent in the classrooms during their formative years, it’s still a good idea to have your older, more experienced employees pass on what they know about manufacturing to the new generation.

There is a misconception surrounding multigenerational workplaces that leads us to believe that there is a level of seething tension between older and younger employees. While you can probably find an instance of generational disconnect in some workplaces, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Instead, treat your more experienced employees as a resource and encourage them to share their knowledge with younger workers. Both groups will be appreciative.

3. Incorporate On-the-Job Training

One of the most significant issues that has led to the manufacturing skills gap involves the lack of training many people receive when they start their new jobs.

Most companies have started incorporating web-based training modules and programs, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Having these paperless processes in place can give new employees a great deal of information about company policies and procedures and can help ensure that new hires know exactly what is going to be expected of them. However, there is no substitute for on-the-job training.

Some industries lend themselves to training through written or digital means. Manufacturing typically isn’t one of those industries. Instead, most people who go to work in the manufacturing industry are “hands-on learners.”

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to incorporate an adequate level of hands-on training, which allows new hires to exhibit their ability to perform the job that you’ve hired them to do. This type of training also makes it possible for you to cross-train employees during slow periods within your company.

By proactively looking for ways to upskill your workforce, you will always have a steady stream of internal candidates to fill empty spots within your manufacturing process.

Work with Allegiance Staffing to Close the Skills Gap

If you’re looking to close the manufacturing skills gap within your company by improving the talent level of your workforce, reach out to Allegiance Staffing.

Unlike some staffing solutions companies, we have a team of dedicated professionals who specialize in delivering solutions, not just talent.

  • We assess your current manufacturing operating reality.
  • We look for process improvements and other areas of growth.
  • We implement strategies to support the workforce.
  • We help identify the best candidates for positions within your company.
  • We source high-quality temporary talent to fill key roles.

Call us today to learn more about our strategic solutions for your industry.