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What’s Trending in Talent Acquisition? The State of Recruiting in Manufacturing

Last week at the UKG Workforce Institute, we launched a special partner series with Employ, the parent company of JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing RPO, called “What’s Trending in Talent Acquisition?” This week, industry experts from UKG continue to dive into new research from Employ and discuss current talent acquisition trends across industries.

If you haven’t done so already, check out part one, part two, part three, and part four of our series. Today’s post — the final in our series — comes from Kylene Zenk, industry fellow for manufacturing at UKG, who discusses talent acquisition trends in manufacturing.

According to recent research from Employ, there is great news, good news, and not-so-good news when it comes to the current state of talent recruitment in the manufacturing industry.

Starting with the good news: the majority of manufacturing organizations have not let economic concerns impact their hiring activity levels, with two-thirds (67%) of recruiters reporting that the volume of hiring is “a lot more” or “somewhat more” than the same time last year. Less than a quarter (22%) indicate that hiring volumes are “the same” as last year, and only 11% have reported any level of decrease in hiring volumes.

In not-so-good news, 64% of recruiters in the manufacturing industry feel their job is more stressful than it was a year ago. The increased stress can be attributed to the following top reasons: more open roles to fill (59%), not enough qualified candidates (59%), more employees leaving the organization (44%), competition from other employers (46%), and burnout and concerns over mental health (34%). More than half of recruiters cite competition from other employers and not enough people to fill open positions as the two biggest recruiting challenges faced by their companies.

Recruiting Priorities in Manufacturing

As manufacturers seek to overcome these challenges, recruiters are focused on the following top-three recruiting priorities: improving the quality of candidates (60%), improving the speed of the hiring process (55%), and getting more candidates for each open role (48%). To increase the size of the talent pipeline, one approach that 64% of recruiters are taking is to take more chances on different kinds of candidates.

In fact, we talked about the latter here at the UKG Workforce Institute in recent months, following our latest manufacturing study. I also talked about manufacturing career opportunities for women with Magda Dexter, senior vice president of HR and communication at Saint-Gobain North America, and I wrote about how manufacturers need to focus on attracting future generations of the workforce.

To effectively improve the quality and volume of candidates, it’s important that employers assess the landscape of potential job seekers in the manufacturing industry. Employ found that, while 76% of employees are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current jobs, a whopping 89% of employees are also “very open” or “somewhat open” to other job opportunities — yet only 43% are actively looking for a new job.

Increasing the Talent Pipeline in Manufacturing

With so much potential talent ripe for the taking, what can manufacturers do to increase the volume and quality of candidates applying to open positions in their companies?

Now it’s time for the great news: they can start by understanding the reasons manufacturing employees look for new jobs. When the 43% of active job seekers were asked by Employ, “Other than higher compensation, why are actively looking for a new job?” the top five reasons cited were career advancement (50%), better company leadership (44%), greater flexibility/remote (43%), change in location/geography (37%), and better company culture (33%).

When the 58% not actively seeking another job were asked, “Other than compensation, what would motivate you to consider applying for another job?” the reasons were incredibly similar, with greater flexibility/remote (39%), career advancement (36%), and better company culture (23%) in the top three, followed by concerns about layoffs or their positions being eliminated (22%) and concerns about their current employers’ financial futures (22%) rounding out the top five.

This level of insight is invaluable for manufacturing organizations struggling to attract and hire talent. As manufacturers modernize talent recruitment strategies, technologies, and processes, they must also look at the nature of job structures and descriptions to ensure their open positions will meet the evolving expectations of the workforce — going beyond compensation to address the desire for greater flexibility, career growth, and professional development, supported by a better company culture and leadership.

Want to learn more? Download the full report from Employ, titled “Examining Employer and Job Seeker Realities,” and subscribe to the UKG Workforce Institute for more industry insights delivered right to your inbox throughout the year.

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