Recruitment challenges are a recurring topic in the manufacturing industry.

CNBC says the industry added 350,000 new jobs in 2017. However, many companies are struggling to find qualified candidates. They report a skills gap. Applicants have insufficient skills, or those with sufficient skills are insufficient in number. According to Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, the gap is anticipated to increase with an estimated 2.4 million roles at risk of not being filled between 2018 and 2028.

How Can Manufacturers Attract Enough Skilled Workers? The Answer Is Tech

Manufacturers need to embrace and to emphasize the high tech aspects of their factories. Younger workers are attracted to the innovative, to the cutting edge. They’ve seen tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook go from zero to mega giant status in a few years. It’s no surprise that they think of Silicon Valley startups instead of the nearby manufacturing plant. They don’t realize that manufacturing plants are actually adopting some of the newest and highest-tech technologies out there. Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning: all these cutting edge technologies are transforming manufacturing.

Convey Your Cutting Edge

It’s up to you and your HR department to communicate how exciting this is.

When writing job descriptions and recruitment materials, view them with a millennial’s eyes. Paint a picture of the new improved manufacturing floor, where touch screens and blockchain, sensors and Big Data offer rich opportunities for new recruits to develop and enhance skills, where they can learn to be at ease in the high-tech atmosphere of the manufacturing future. Familiarity and ease with these tools, from both user and manufacturer perspective, are the ticket to upward mobility in manufacturing.

Misconceptions are hard to overcome. Use social media and LinkedIn to convey your cutting edge status, and give interviewees a tour of the floor so they can get a more accurate sense of the skills they’ll be able to cultivate while on the job.

It’s not their grandfather’s dirty, loud, gritty factory floor anymore. Convey to prospective employees that a manufacturing job today can mean an ongoing relationship with new technology and a lifetime opportunity for learning, and you’ll find it far easier to attract a young and enthusiastic workforce.