Beating the Manufacturing Skills Crunch

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There seems to be no end in sight for the severe worker shortage being faced in the manufacturing industry. According to CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand Portal data, job growth in manufacturing has increased 89 percent from September 2010 to August, 2012 – an increase of nearly 70,000 jobs. And of those jobs, the five most difficult types to fill, based on supply over demand, were:

  • CNC programmers
  • Tool and die makers
  • CNC machinists
  • CAD/CAM technicians
  • Engineers & sales engineers

With highly specialized needs like CAD design, modern production management, and tools fabrication, how can manufacturers find the right employees to fill these openings? We pulled together a well-rounded list of tactics to differentiate your company in a small, hypercompetitive recruitment environment.

"Poaching" from Competitors

Taking talent directly from competitors ensures that a candidate is at the top of their game and current on the industry. Although many of these candidates range from passive to opposed to poaching, a relationship can be built over time. If a candidate says no right off the bat, ask if they’d be willing to opt into future communications, or to hear about jobs via email to begin building the relationship and keep the conversation open for future opportunities.

Put Some Fire Behind the Referral Program

Referral candidates cost less, start a job quicker and stay longer. Your employees are connected to former classmates and alumni, professionals through certifications and via social channels. From providing pre-canned tweets or LinkedIn updates to targeting employees in the positions that need to be filled for potential candidates within their rolodex, this is a quick way to broaden the candidate pool.

The Ones That Got Away

Return to that talent community or historical information in your ATS (applicant tracking system) to find candidates that made it to the final stage but weren’t ultimately hired, talent that turned down an offer, or even former employees who might boomerang back. This group was already sold to some degree on working at your organization and that interest can be rekindled through targeted communications.

Get Out There

The CAD Conference is bound to be swarming with professionals who are hungry to learn more about what’s new and cutting edge in the industry. The ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC) will likely have a handful of highly qualified workers. While bold, connecting with people at professional events will deliver quality leads, and referrals that they may know from their professional experience. And in addition to attending conferences, consider hosting a Meetup or seminar on technical topics. This will uncover talent that has the appropriate skills and is looking to grow them.

Combined with traditional job board postings and more modern recruitment channels like mining LinkedIn and Twitter for sources, these down and dirty methods of sourcing candidates will infuse any recruiter’s candidate search for a breath of fresh talent. And this applies to positions that require specialized skills beyond manufacturing.

Aside from these ideas, what is your company doing to find sought after talent with specialized skills?


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