Since its early roots during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century – where raw materials were transformed into finished goods – the manufacturing industry has featured prominently in most global economies.
Today, the manufacturing industry produces everything from aircraft, ships, and automobiles to chemicals, clothing, and refined petroleum products.
Those working in this sector play a role in creating new products, either from raw materials or by putting together various components through physical, chemical, or mechanical means.
Common manufacturing industry jobs include:
While many aspects of manufacturing are automated and the sector no longer dominates the country’s economy as it did through much of the 20th century, it still accounts for 12% of the nation’s total economic growth.
US manufacturing was hard hit by the pandemic like most global industries, and some operations are still recovering. While consumer demand for goods has returned, many manufacturers are still struggling with supply chain disruptions and shortages of raw materials.
Then there’s the issue of skills shortages. Some 73% of CEOs in the manufacturing industry say hiring challenges are impacting their ability to operate their business at full capacity, according to a recent Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey.
At the end of February 2022, there were a staggering 11.3 million job openings in the sector, and in April, there were fewer workers on factory floors than there have been in years.
According to Deloitte, the manufacturing sector could have a shortage of 2.1 million skilled jobs by 2030.
Even before the pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation hit, US workers were demanding higher pay and better conditions – in particular, lower-income and hourly workers subject to low wages, uncomfortable or dangerous working conditions, and mediocre company benefits. Too often, these workers miss out on the perks that come standard with full-time roles, such as disability and life insurance, paid time off and sick leave, dental and vision coverage, retirement funding, and educational aid.
Now, nationwide, these employees are finding their voice. Their expectations include:
If you’re a manufacturing industry employer looking to attract and retain good workers, here are some initiatives to consider:
Did you know that over three-quarters of job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating potential employers? Those from underrepresented groups feel particularly strongly about this issue.
It makes sense, then, that diversity is taken into account during your entire recruiting process. You should also ensure that your process for promotions and raises is free from any form of bias.
The rewards will be well worth it:
According to Deloitte, Gen-Z workers (those born after 1996) “will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation on earth, with more than one-third of the world’s population.” For this reason, it makes sense to tailor your brand to them to futureproof your recruitment and retention efforts.
Be aware that younger employees’ perception of equity extends to governance and environmental issues:
Some 69% of job seekers say they wouldn’t accept a job at a company with a poor reputation, even if they were unemployed, and 84% say they would consider leaving their current positions if offered a role at a company with a better reputation.
71% of job seekers want to work for environmentally sustainable companies after the pandemic and a report by Washington State University states that some 83% of Gen-Z employees say they want to work for an organization where they can positively impact the world.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainability in manufacturing is “the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources. Sustainable manufacturing also enhances employee, community, and product safety.”
Here are some small things you can do to minimize your operation’s environmental footprint and run a more sustainable business:
One way to make your manufacturing organization more attractive to prospective candidates is to give workers more control over how they work.
This might involve simply allowing varied starting and stopping times and easier trading of shifts in jobs that must be undertaken on-site. Thanks to technological advances, such flexibility is easily implemented and won’t place an additional administrative burden on managers and supervisors. Employers should also consider investing in technology – such as that offered by Payactiv – that allows workers to swap shifts or pick up extra shifts using their smartphones.
Earned Wage Access (EWA) seamlessly introduces flexibility into your workplace. EWA allows employees to access pay they’ve accrued but not yet received which can help employees deal with sudden, unplanned demands for cash while avoiding unnecessary debt.
Work is a leading source of stress for Americans. When people are overly stressed, it can affect their physical and mental health. This will not only negatively impact your productivity levels but will also lead to a spike in employee healthcare costs.
On the other hand, physically and mentally healthy employees tend to be more productive and engaged and have lower absenteeism and turnover rates. To aid with this, employers can implement simple initiatives to improve employees’ mental and physical health.
Simply allowing workers to take regular breaks in quiet spaces or nap rooms and offering healthy snacks are two great methods of aiding worker health.
For a slightly more involved approach, employers can purchase IoT devices that can be used to monitor not only equipment and machinery efficiency, output, and quality but also worker health and safety. They continually scan the environment to ensure workers are wearing the correct personal protective equipment such as hard hats and safety boots and will issue automatic alerts in the event of non-compliance.
Increasing numbers of US workers are primary caregivers to young children or elderly parents. Too often, this results in them struggling to balance their personal responsibilities with their work commitments. Other personal stresses and setbacks such as bereavement, financial woes, or the breakdown of a relationship or marriage can affect employees’ ability to cope.
Here are some ways you can help people who are experiencing personal hardships:
As a leader, it’s important never to forget that people pay special attention to your words and actions. So, lead by example by leaving the office now and then to attend a child’s school concert or sports game and avoiding making phone calls or sending emails to workers over the weekend.
Today, manufacturing employers that only offer jobs that pay low wages, lack good benefits, or have inflexible schedules aren’t going to win the war for talent.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make your organization a place where people want to work – and it will be a good investment. Businesses that partner with Payactiv see significant cost reductions through increased recruitment, engagement, and retention.
Click here to schedule a demo and start making your manufacturing operation an employer of choice, or get in touch to speak to one of our team members.
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