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Taking a Proactive Approach to Talent Acquisition in Manufacturing

In an industry at risk for heightened skills gaps in the face of digital advancements, manufacturing companies need to take decisive measures in order to survive. For years, they’ve taken a reactive approach to talent acquisition, but a talent crisis looms if they don’t change their ways. 

Adopting automation and robots could help maintain production in the interim, “but it also puts pressure on a plant to upskill workers quickly to absorb the new technology,” according to a Deloitte article. “Manufacturers that haven’t thought through this workforce transformation can find themselves struggling to adapt.”

What’s really needed is a proactive approach to talent acquisition — a pipeline of candidates ready to step in and fill gaps. If recruitment is “an ongoing process, then you’ll already have formed important relationships by the time you need to field a pool of top candidates,” a Monster article reports. 

According to Monster, 62% of survey respondents admit “it’s harder to find quality candidates for their companies than it used to be.” That’s why a talent pipeline can be beneficial. 

Strategic workforce planning

A talent pipeline focuses on building and nurturing relationships with potential candidates. It can provide higher-quality candidates, help talent teams engage passive candidates, improve diversity and deliver a better candidate experience. 

There are many ways to approach the creation of a talent pipeline. You can make connections at vocational schools and universities, offer mentorships and apprenticeships, and have representation at local and industrial events to raise awareness, among other things. But none of these tactics guarantees the people who show interest will later join your ranks. 

In an industry at risk of losing $2.5 trillion by 2028 if the skills gap isn’t addressed, according to a Deloitte Skills gap in manufacturing study, manufacturers need more of a surefire approach to building a talent pipeline. “When it comes to manufacturing recruitment efforts, companies should utilize technology to connect with a more digitized workforce,” Monster points out.

It’s an exciting time in manufacturing as companies embrace artificial intelligence (AI) in preparation for smart factories. Today, AI is used to source raw materials, analyze machine functionality and maintenance needs, streamline operations and even provide insights into the customer experience. It only seems natural to extend this functionality to the talent acquisition process. 

How AI can help

AI can’t — and shouldn’t — take over the whole talent acquisition process. Humans need to decide what roles require which skills. Then, they can enter that information into their AI-powered talent data platform or talent operating system and let AI sift through the myriad talent data to find the candidates that best match those skills. 

AI is able to quickly and easily detect things humans struggle with, such as how skills relate to each other across functions, jobs and industries. In this way, it can infer skills candidates might possess based on previous jobs at other companies. 

Putting AI to work in this way can save talent teams considerable time and money in creating high-quality internal, external, gig and contingent talent pools to start engaging with and nurturing. With those pools established, you can automate outreach to candidates — and even personalize the experience for each. Based on the outcomes of the nurturing efforts, you should have a well-equipped pipeline of strong, engaged candidates ready to step into a vacant position. 

How one manufacturer transformed talent acquisition

Manufacturing company Jabil knew it needed a different approach to talent acquisition in order to stay competitive. “We were basically doing our improvement and staffing as if we were back in the 1970s or ’80s,” admits Bruce Johnson, chief human resources officer at the company. 

Jabil adopted Beamery and transitioned to a proactive approach to talent lifecycle management — and the company hasn’t looked back. “This is a big step forward for us in our journey to be competitive out in the marketplace,” Johnson notes. The manufacturer is pleased with Beamery’s functionality, ease of use, adaptability and data protection, as well as its integration with Workday. 

“We can do more segmentation. We can do more assessments, do more filtering and do more engagement in a marketing campaign in the Beamery system,” explains Joanna Pan, a senior talent acquisition manager at Jabil. 

“We’re talking about saving time on sourcing. We’re talking about helping us to keep in touch with that relationship with the candidates. We’re talking about improving our branding,” adds Iris Iniguez, another senior talent acquisition manager at the company. 

Jabil is one example of a manufacturer that took drastic measures to fill job vacancies. The future of the industry depends on other manufacturers following suit. Transitioning to a proactive, strategic, AI-driven approach to workforce planning offers the most promise. 

Learn how Beamery can help manufacturers make recruitment an ongoing process.