AI, robotics, assistive technology - the landscape of manufacturing has changed course with industrial revolution 4.0; highly manual roles in many areas are becoming redundant and new positions with titles that never once existed such as Drone data coordinator are actively being recruited for.
On the surface, the potential of industrial revolution 4.0 is promising and full of opportunity, China has held the top position for over ten years with 28.4% of the global manufacturing output, and the UK has recently become the eighth largest manufacturing nation in the world with an annual output of £183bn. However, a closer look also shows the cost-impact of resulting skill shortages and the demand to quickly upskill or reskill current employees. It’s suggested that the skills gap in the US is as high as 2.4million, contributing to $2.5 trillion in risk towards manufacturing GDP by 2028.
Reducing skill shortages within hard-skill roles is a global priority in manufacturing organisations. It is expected that 3.5 million jobs in the US manufacturing industry will need to be filled by 2025 but 2 million positions will go unfilled due to a lack of skilled manufacturing workers. (Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute). This trend continues globally, where in APAC the biggest barriers to adopting smart manufacturing are employee resistance and skills sets.
All this has a significant financial and time-to-hire cost for an industry impacted by the global economic climate.
Research by Deloitte has shown that “It takes more than 2 months to fill positions for skilled production workers, and more than 4 months for engineers, researchers, and scientists.” This is around 25 days longer than the average time it takes to fill a job vacancy. A large proportion of these roles are digitally and data-focused, but there is also a struggle to fill management and quality assurance roles which require levels of mechanical comprehension to understand and safely assess the quality and safety of operational outputs for businesses.
How can HR professionals find top talent at a time of skill-shortage?
1) Identify Skill Gaps Within Your Business
Putting together a skills gap analysis is the first stage in identifying gaps in your business that need filling with talent. Skills shortages will naturally vary, but many of the gaps that exist today will be essential for businesses to innovate, transform digitally and continue to stay competitive. From here, you can begin to identify the core critical skills required and plan with your HR and recruitment team a plan of action on how to source and select the required talent and grow business operations. Adopting psychometric tests such as a mechanical comprehension test can provide valuable insight.
2) Streamline Recruitment Process
Lengthy recruitment processes mean higher costs and longer timelines, which can affect the industry's image. Through an analysis of the roles requirements and forward planning you can efficiently optimize your company's recruitment and talent identification process. 51% of industry experts are expecting hiring levels to increase hiring practices, bringing in the right technology to assess your candidates could make a long-term difference!
3) Obtain Company Buy-In
During the recruitment process, you can bring in talent already within the organisation to create two-way conversations around the talent/skills needed for innovation and get employee buy-in at all levels of the business. One sourcing channel being increasingly used (81%) to attract high quality candidates is employee referrals! This also means that current employees need to be engaged and motivated in their role; a good internal advocate is invaluable.
4) Upskill from Top-to-Bottom
Identifying skills gaps and running comprehension tests internally can highlight any areas of opportunity for strengthening current talent. 70% of manufacturing employees under age 25 in a recent survey said they were staying with their employer because they were given opportunities to develop their skills. With the demand for digital skills high in the manufacturing industry, businesses are looking to rearrange teams and departments to maximize their talent pool. Investment in continuous training and adopting a skills-based approach to hiring leads to a talent pipeline that is forward-facing.
5) Review DEI Practices
Women only account for 26% of all workers in the manufacturing sector in the UK, giving organisations the chance to review their DEI process and consider how they recruit. The value-perception of manufacturing has changed over the years, especially as a result of the pandemic. Widening the talent pool, engaging career starters at earlier opportunities and looking for a range of skill sets outside traditional qualifications will improve the quality of future hires.
6) Implement Psychometric Tools as Part of the Process
88% of APAC manufacturers plan to maintain or grow employment due to technology. With plans to grow being able to predict how a candidate will perform in their role, and or how they can develop under training is key, which is where an assessment of Mechanical Reasoning Ability (MRA) such as the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test (BMCT-lll) included in Pearson Talentlens’ Role Assessments platform can help. MRA is required in several job roles and by measuring this specific ability, organisations can identify candidates with good spatial perception and mechanical reasoning abilities, as well as those with an aptitude for learning mechanical processes and tasks. All of which can help reduce the risk of a bad hire and supports employee development in the future.