There are millions of reasons why effective talent management will be the key to manufacturing in the next few years. Literally. Millions of jobs will need to be filled and at the rate the industry is going, the need for workers will far outpace the availability of talent.
The impact of this manufacturing skills gap is real, substantial, and global.
In the United States alone, the expected shortage of manufacturing talent over the next decade is 2 million workers. With fewer young people interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing, experts anticipate 2.7 million jobs will need to be filled as a generation of workers retire; another 700,000 manufacturing jobs are likely to be created as businesses grow. European countries, as well as China, may need to rely more heavily on older workers because there are not younger workers who are qualified or interested in taking manufacturing jobs. The next generation of manufacturing workers is by no means guaranteed.
In some ways technology has widened this gap: Modern manufacturing workers require a more sophisticated knowledge of computer sciences and engineering technologies than they did before. With the fourth industrial revolution in the foreseeable future, bringing with it a focus on artificial intelligence, this trend will only continue. Manufacturing workers will need to become much more technologically savvy, in short order.
Manufacturing workers will need to become much more technologically savvy, in short order
Therefore, it’s not a good idea for those in the manufacturing industry to be passive when it comes to cultivating talent. It’s not wise to bet the future success of your company on the hope that qualified workers will come to you. As a company, you will need a talent management strategy to recruit this next generation.
You will also need to keep and nurture the skilled talent you currently have by engaging them, helping them grow, and involving them in recruiting and training the next generation.
Therefore, technology must also be used to close this gap: Recent advances in talent management technologies are empowering proactive companies to elevate the role of HR in narrowing this gap. Indeed, it can be at the very heart of it. For while the role of technology in addressing this global gap cannot be overstated, it will need to be balanced with close attention to the humans using the technology.
That’s why HR leadership within manufacturing companies will be critical to prepare and develop a talent management strategy that can help mitigate the impact of this global gap.
This is not something most companies in the manufacturing sector can afford to improve upon incrementally—it’s time to prepare for significant changes in the way talent is managed—starting now and in the foreseeable future.