5 Lessons from Manufacturing Job Seekers

Woman in a hardhat and orange safety vest

The manufacturing industry has faced a whirlwind of shifting expectations, opportunities, and shortages over the past year. Last fall, we surveyed manufacturing recruiters to learn more about their challenges for our 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey and learned that manufacturing recruiters are struggling with too many applicants without the necessary skills or qualifications, and increased stress from pressure to hire quality candidates fast. On the other hand, with our 2021 Job Seeker Nation Report, we’re able to get into the mind of the manufacturing candidate and see their concerns and priorities.

We dove into the results of both reports, as well as recent news in the labor market in a webinar with Jobvite’s Marketing Communications Manager Amber Ferrari and Beth Arbetman, Global Talent Acquisition Leader at ACCO Brands. If you are pressed for time and can’t watch the full webinar, we picked out top five take-aways below.

5. Candidates are more stressed than ever before

It’s no secret that the pandemic added stress to everyone from candidates and employees to recruiters. The manufacturing industry experienced a shift as well, leading to longer workdays for some and layoffs for others. Manufacturing job seekers are not only reporting higher stress than in the 2020 survey, but more are reporting insecurity than last year. In 2021, 51% of manufacturing candidates that have a second source of income do so out of necessity. This is up from 42% in 2020. Not only that, but 21% of respondents reported that they or someone in their immediate family have recently struggled with food insecurity. As job seekers and employees work to manage stress, employers should remember to assist in any way that they can. Whether that’s providing mental health resources, additional paid time off, or flexibility for working parents, every effort helps.

4. It’s (still) a candidate’s market

“It really is a candidate’s market right now, and it’s our job as employers to meet them where their needs are.”Beth Arbetman, ACCO Brands

In this economy where there are more open jobs than people applying for them, employers must understand the needs of candidates in order to compete. It’s important for employers to meet candidates where they are and provide an excellent candidate experience, otherwise they will lose talent to a competitor. Candidates have a list of expectations for employers including COVID safety measures, diversity and inclusion, and incentives for taking care of their health. As employers are developing their brands and candidate sourcing strategies, they should keep these types of expectations in mind.

3. Manufacturing candidates want diversity & inclusion

According to the survey, 40% of job seekers have inquired about an employer’s goals and efforts around improving diversity in the workplace during a job interview. This shows that candidates care about the effort that employers make towards ensuring a diverse and inclusive company culture. In fact, 29% of job seekers said that they would turn down a job offer if the company lacked diversity in its workforce or had no clear goals for improving. These expectations show that candidates are looking to feel respected and appreciated when they come to work – no matter their identity. Companies that work on DE&I by using technology like Jobvite’s Job Description Grader, Career sites, and Bias Blocker, see increases in profit as well as an improved employer brand.

2. It’s all about the experience

Like we talked about earlier, job seekers have increased their expectations in job searches. They’re looking for a strong employer brand that consists of DE&I, employee benefits, and easy applications. Candidate experience has become a priority to job seekers – they expect easy applications, responsiveness from employers, and to be reached where they are. Text recruiting has become a top strategy among recruiters for on-the-go candidates like manufacturing job seekers and having effective automated messaging allows candidates to communicate with recruiters through text at any time of day.

1. Current employees are your best source for candidates

In a competitive job market, every candidate interaction counts. Finding the right fit for a role can feel impossible, but candidates that are referred a job by a friend or colleague can be the key to success. Recruiters are seeing fewer employees post jobs to their personal networks at 65% (compared to 69% in 2020). This means there’s a great opportunity for employers to develop or improve employee referral programs.

Arbetman shared that ACCO Brands offers their employees money incentives for successful referral hires after they complete 90 days of employment. This expands the reach of job openings as well as encourage employees to share their experience with the company – and get rewarded for it!

Final Hiring Insights

Employers that are looking to compete in this competitive market should remember that candidates are savvier than ever before. They have high expectations for their employment with your company – as they should! Candidates want to balance work with their lives and feel appreciated for the work they do. If you as a recruiter work to understand and meet the needs of your candidates, you can expect to watch the top talent roll in.

For more information on recruiting in the manufacturing industry, check out these resources. Also, stay up to date in everything TA by reading our blog and resource library! Ready to learn more about how Jobvite can improve your recruiting game in manufacturing? Request a demo now.