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Survey of Nearly 10,000 Manufacturing Workers Uncovers Critical Tactics to Meet Production Needs Amid Short Talent Supply  


ATLANTA, October 30, 3018 – ResourceMFG today announced the findings of its fourth annual Manufacturing Employee Opinion Survey, offering valuable insights into the motivations, expectations and attitudes of manufacturing workers at a time when employers are vying for this talent to meet rising production demands. According to the survey of nearly 10,000 workers, wages, shift preferences and less stringent absenteeism policies can make the difference in attracting and keeping these workers in the short and long term. 

“The acquisition of manufacturing talent has reached an acute level, the importance of which can’t be underestimated,” said Brian Devine, Senior Vice President of EmployBridge. “In fact, according to a recent Manufacturing Institute study, one-third of companies say they have already turned away new work because of a lack of manpower. The bottom line is demand for new orders continues to rise while inventories remain low and the only way to close that gap is by hiring and retaining more workers. The valuable insights derived from our latest survey, if acted upon, can alleviate talent shortages for employers and directly impact revenues.” 

Higher wages are driving factor for manufacturing talent.

For the fourth consecutive year, pay is the single highest job priority for manufacturing workers and is a driving factor behind which jobs they accept and which jobs they stay on. For employers looking to adjust pay levels to meet worker expectations, increasing hourly wages by $2.00 per hour over last year will be key. Other findings related to wages include: 

  • Workers are willing to earn wage increases as shown in the survey. Of those surveyed, 49 percent said pay increases should be based upon attendance, performance and quality, as opposed to  an annual or bi-annual basis. 
  • Higher pay was among the most common reasons workers left their last job (34 percent). For 31 percent of the survey participants, their new pay rate was more than $2.00 an hour higher, and for another 17 percent it was an increase of $1.50 – $2.00 an hour. 

Adjustments must be made for workers to consider alternate shifts. 

Not surprisingly, most manufacturing workers (68 percent) prefer a reliable, five-day-a-week, first-shift schedule. However, rising consumer demands require many employers to operate continuous second and third shifts. To combat this challenge, most workers (70 percent) say an hourly incentive would motivate them to work a shift other than first shift, with the minimum shift differential required being $1.17 an hour. 

In addition to differential pay,creative shift scheduling may help staff-up for after-hours manufacturing. For example, 38 percent are willing to work four, 10-hour shifts a week.  

Stringent HR policies may be pushing good workers out the door.

Many employers’ stringent policies regarding absenteeism and tardiness may be creating unnecessary vacancies and turnover. During historically low unemployment, it is more difficult to find replacement workers with stellar attendance records

Most manufacturers experience strong worker attendance, with 62 percent of workers reporting zero absences in the last 90 days, and 20 percent reporting only one.

  • Most common causes of absenteeism are health-related, with 39 percent due to illness and 18 percent due to doctor’s appointments, while many have no paid time off or sick time.  
  • Companies should consider modifying their mandatory overtime policies that create unwanted employee turnover.

Flexible tardiness and absenteeism policiesthat take into account tenure, performance and the number of consecutive days a person has worked will help avoid the cost and disruption of replacing good talent with potentially not-so-good talent due to the labor shortage. 

To view ResourceMFG’s 2018 Manufacturing Employee Opinion Survey findings, click here.


About EmployBridge

As workforce specialists, EmployBridge provides value-added workforce solutions and job opportunities through focused specialty divisions including ResourceMFG, ProLogistix, ProDrivers, Select, RemX, Westaff and Remedy. Combining the advantages of national scale, in-depth local market knowledge, industry-specific expertise and powerful recruiting and retention tools, EmployBridge is recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts as America’s largest industrial staffing firm. The company puts more than 86,000 people to work each week across a network of 500+ offices in 48 states and Canada. In 2017, EmployBridge provided more than 164 million work hours to 10,000 clients, generating more than $3 billion in revenue.  For more information, please visit


Media Contact Ken Christensen (678) 534.2346



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