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The state of talent management in the manufacturing industry

Learn how manufacturing organizations can use data and workforce intelligence to support strategic talent management

Talent management in the manufacturing industry has evolved significantly in recent years. The sector is facing a skills gap and a shortage of qualified workers due to an aging workforce, increased retirements, and a lack of interest in manufacturing jobs among younger generations. 

According to the 2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study, 89% of manufacturing executives agree there’s a talent shortage in the U.S. manufacturing sector, up from 84% in 2015. By 2028, new jobs in manufacturing are expected to grow by 1.96 million workers. Additionally, 2.6 million Baby Boomers working in the manufacturing industry will retire in the next decade, which means 2.4 million jobs may remain unfilled in 2028.

The manufacturing sector is increasingly viewed as crucial to economic and pandemic recovery, yet outdated public perceptions could be impacting recruitment of vital new workers, according to 2022 study findings by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

A persistent shortfall of workers and a skills mismatch for smart manufacturing could slow down economic growth and manufacturing competitiveness. The study found perceptions are starting to change, especially due to the manufacturing industry’s response to the pandemic, but there are areas that need attention.

The 2022 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Manufacturing Perception Study reports that: 

  • 64% of consumers surveyed view manufacturing as innovative, up from 39% of respondents five years ago.
  • Big gains in technology advances in manufacturing, but public awareness lags.
  • Attracting and retaining a quality workforce is a top focus for 83% of manufacturers surveyed.
  • Almost 45% of manufacturing executives surveyed have turned down business opportunities due to lack of workers.
  • A majority of workers still prefer jobs in other sectors, such as retail, services, and technology.

To combat these challenges, many manufacturing companies have started to invest in talent management programs. These programs aim to attract and retain skilled workers by providing competitive compensation packages, training and development programs, and opportunities for career advancement.

5 key trends in talent management in manufacturing

1. Employee engagement

Employee engagement is a critical factor in talent management. Manufacturers are using engagement surveys and other tools to gather feedback from employees and improve their work environment, culture, and opportunities for growth.

2. Diversity and inclusion

Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on diversity and inclusion to create a more inclusive workplace that values different perspectives and backgrounds. This includes implementing diversity and inclusion training, recruiting more diverse candidates, and creating programs to support underrepresented groups.

3. Emphasis on workforce planning

Manufacturers are focusing on strategic workforce planning to identify the skills and competencies they will need in the future. This involves analyzing current workforce demographics, predicting future staffing needs, and creating talent development programs to close any skill gaps.

4. Increased use of technology

Manufacturing companies are leveraging technology to improve their talent management processes. This includes using artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze employee data, identify skill gaps, and make better hiring decisions. New technologies means that the skills needed for today’s manufacturing jobs will likely change in future roles. A May 2020 survey by Deloitte reports that 53% of business leaders said between half and all of their workforce would need to change their capabilities and skills in the next three years.

5. Upskilling and reskilling

With rapid technological changes in the industry, manufacturers are investing in upskilling and reskilling programs to help employees acquire new skills and stay current in their roles. If leaders in the manufacturing sector have any hope of closing the skills gap and securing future talent, these programs are going to be key to doing so. This requires insight into the skills of your current workforce and a plan for internal mobility in order to reskill and redeploy talent. 

Companies that invest in talent management strategies are more likely to succeed in the long run by creating a skilled and engaged workforce that can adapt to changing market conditions.

How Reejig Can Support Closing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing

Global manufacturers are using Reejig’s award-winning workforce intelligence platform to gain 100% visibility into the skills across their workforce so they can find, reskill, and retain their workers at scale.


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