Ways to overcome the labor crunch of 2022

June 10, 2022

In March of 2022, MIT held its Manufacturing Conference titled Disruption as the New Normal. The conference focused not only on new technologies, but also on how these systems are shaping the future of the industry. One discussion, in particular, focused on how some businesses are shifting gears to overcome the labor shortage manufacturers are dealing with now and for the last decade.

We'll explore how these companies are coming out on top and ways you can implement some of their strategies as well.

Why is there a skills gap?

With more than 10,000 workers in the industry reaching retirement age every day and Gen X employees reaching this age as well soon, the industrial industry is facing a serious labor shortage. On top of the labor shortage, there is a skills gap developing between those who know and can safely operate traditional machinery and those who can handle new data technologies.

To keep up, businesses are spending hours and thousands of dollars to train their employees to fill the vacant positions. Even with extensive training, 60% of workplace injuries in construction occur within the first year of employment.

So, what are the most successful manufacturers doing to overcome these challenges?

Meeting worker's needs

The key to identifying and attracting the right candidates is to focus on what they need in the workplace. Gen Z is looking for three things, according to Fast Company's May 2022 blog, to consider going back into the workforce and away from remote work: connection, flexibility and a positive work environment.

This incoming generation of talent is looking for more than just a paycheck at the end of the month and consistent work, but a workplace that values who they are as people — instead of just bodies used as a means to an end. This means that employees are looking for engagement, opportunities for growth and space to work in or out of the physical workplace as necessary. Fast Company's interview with Pinterest recruiter Shelley Hernandez found that candidates are more likely to apply to a job if the word "flexibility" is used in the job description, and that the one-size-fits-all approach to working hours and location no longer works.

You can turn the skills gap into a competitive advantage for your business. Dive into how your workplace could shift to attract hard-working Millennial and Gen Z-ers who are excited about getting into the industry but are not willing to sacrifice their needs in the process.

Manufacturers should develop a plan to attract candidates while avoiding the changes that affect productivity and safety. Proactively bring in new talent and invest in ongoing training, development programs, team bonding activities and flexibility in the workday.