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Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Challenges Drive New Recruiting Strategies

03/30/2017  |  By: Jeff Otto, Recruiter, Contract & Direct Hire

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The LBMC National Manufacturing & Distribution Outlook Survey echoes what we’ve been hearing in the Tennessee manufacturing hiring market. While the state continues to be an attractive location for manufacturing businesses, competition for qualified specialized manufacturing talent is an ongoing challenge. According to the report, seven in ten Tennessee manufacturing executives expect 3% or better growth this year. However, 60% also cite the lack of qualified workers as a top barrier to that growth.

The survey polled executives of large and small manufacturing companies from across the U.S. last fall. Responses from Tennessee manufacturers were similar to the national results; both groups indicate that finding qualified candidates is a top challenge. Nationally, almost half of the U.S. manufacturing executives who responded also cite a growing pressure to find top talent for key advanced manufacturing roles.

A key factor in finding the right talent is understanding how manufacturing has changed. Increased automation, robotics, and advanced manufacturing equipment is driving the need for a more skilled workforce equipped with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. As a result, many manufacturers need to look beyond their traditional sources to fill key manufacturing roles.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen a growing number of requests to locate candidates for key manufacturing roles such as plant VP, general manager, plant manager, purchasing, operations and engineering. Many of these skilled positions are currently held by an aging workforce on the threshold of retirement. Leveraging our expertise and insight into the current manufacturing environment, we have been able to complete several successful talent matches for these highly technical manufacturing roles.

With a large number of the current manufacturing workforce in their 50’s, we anticipate an ongoing need to locate and recruit a more highly-skilled labor force.  

Download the full report here.