Many manufacturing companies today are justifiably worried about "brain drain." The idea of losing highly skilled employees to other companies within the industry, or even opportunities outside of it, is a problem because there just aren't that many workers capable of stepping into a new job opening with ease.
As such, your business has to be highly proactive about making sure you are able to not only attract talent initially, but also retain it for the long term. The 2021 Voice of the Blue-Collar Worker Survey from EmployBridge (which talked to 15,770 skilled blue-collar employees in a variety of fields) makes one thing perfectly clear: Your employees want the opportunity to "skill up" in their careers. Are you ready to give it to them?
The following findings from the VBCW survey show just why blue-collar workers place such a high value on upskilling — and why you should want to provide them:
1) Baby boomers are retiring
Today, many companies in manufacturing (and other blue-collar fields) struggle to attract younger workers, and that's a problem because baby boomers — who still make up a large portion of blue-collar laborers — are universally approaching retirement age. You need to be able to replace them confidently, and upskilling helps in this arena.
2) The vast majority want to move up in their careers
In all, 72% of respondents said they want to stay in their current industries in the next two or three years, at a minimum. Of that number, about a third said they wanted to become a lead or supervisor, and another 1 in 6 or so indicated they wanted to pursue certificates or degrees in the field.
3) Almost a quarter highly value upskilling as part of a reason to accept a job
While pay alone is the single biggest factor that decides whether a worker will accept an offer — cited by 32% — another 23% said they wanted at least one of the following: advancement opportunities (6%), training (5%), or job security (12%). All are related to ongoing upskilling efforts.
4) Upskilling boosts loyalty
A great way to increase employee retention is to build better relationships, and 12% of those polled said their loyalty rises when they have advancement opportunities. Another 10% felt the same way about learning new skills. Furthermore, 15% said they wanted to work for companies they felt valued their individual growth.
5) It will improve hiring
When you're confident in your upskilling processes, you don't have to search high and low for talent whenever you have a job opening. You can bring aboard people with bare-minimum skills and feel comfortable getting them up to speed in short order.
6) Upskilling efforts pay for themselves
Likewise, the ability to consistently train people for the roles you need them to fill makes it easier to complete hiring efforts quickly. That means you lose less efficiency over time and, therefore, continue operating at a high level.
7) You'll see less turnover
When you view upskilling as a way to keep employees engaged and satisfied, the odds they'll look elsewhere for opportunities are greatly diminished. That will help you remain at or near a full staffing level for years to come.
Want more insights? Don't forget to download your copy of the Voice of the Blue-Collar Worker survey from EmployBridge today.