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Managing Metalworking Talent at Every Level

A young latin engineer calibrating a large drill with his laptop in his shop

From the seasoned veterans who have helped make your company what it is to the next crop of workers who may not have yet even discovered the advantages of a metalworking career, your talent needs and concerns exist at all points on the spectrum. While it can be easy to view these as separate talent issues, when you understand how they are interconnected, the obstacles (and opportunities) they create become clearer. Considering the cyclical nature of your workforce, it stands to reason that the success of each employee is contingent on their superiors, peers and subordinates. Unfortunately, failure to properly assess and manage metalworking talent at every level can lead to greater problems in acquisition and retention.

While there are unique problems at every level, acquisition perhaps poses the greatest potential threat to the future of metalworking and manufacturing talent. While some might suggest that concerns regarding acquisition should be addressed during the search and hiring phase, the research shows us that it should actually start much earlier.

The Next Generation of Manufacturing Talent

By the year 2025, it is projected that U.S. manufacturing will need nearly 3.5 million workers but, due to a growing proficiency gap, less than half of those jobs will be filled. Proactive manufacturers are recognizing that the talent they need tomorrow has yet to reach the workforce. In fact, some of the talent they need hasn’t even reached high school. Companies like AlanWire in Missouri are working with local high schools to create programs that allow high school students to work for them, earn credits and make money. Not only does this have a positive impact on the community, but it pays dividends for AlanWire in terms of attracting and retaining a new generation of manufacturing workers.

Other schools across the country like Seymour High School in Indiana have led the way with creating student-run manufacturing businesses that not only empower students but also show them the opportunities provided by a career in manufacturing. These types of programs are essential in closing the looming talent gap that threatens all manufacturing industries, including metalworking.

The Support to Retain Your Talent

Regardless of how forward-thinking a company is in regards to igniting the interests of tomorrow’s talent, all those resources and energy is wasted if the necessary supports don’t exist once employees actually enter the doors and embark on their careers. With a range of industries competing for young talent, it is already an uphill climb to attract jobseekers to the world of manufacturing. If your company is ill-prepared to provide the onboarding and training they need to succeed now and in the future, it is likely you will lose them to competitors who can provide the proper supports.

Maximizing Your Highly Experienced Workers

As a portion of your current talent pool reaches retirement, it may seem as though there is little you can do other than help make the transition as smooth as possible while also seeking to fill the gaps created by their exit. It is important not to overlook that these senior members of your manufacturing business are often ideal mentors for your younger talent. Their experiences and insight, when properly leveraged, can serve as the best motivation for younger generations of workers. With a record number of workers reaching retirement age, the manufacturers who properly motivate and manage their metalworking talent are the ones with the greatest chance of success.

No matter what level of metalworking talent you are considering, it serves you best to think about how all levels of your workforce pose unique challenges in today’s tough market. Going the extra mile when it comes to attracting and onboarding new talent is as important as ensuring your workers who are reaching retirement are given ample opportunity to usher in the next generation of metalworking talent. At Davalyn, we are excited to be approaching our 30th year of helping metalworking manufacturers attract, acquire and retain top talent. Our experience has provided us countless opportunities to partner with industry leaders and shape the landscape of talent acquisition in the manufacturing industry. We have succeeded by anticipating and adapting to changes in manufacturing, and we are excited to leverage our three decades of successful partnerships as the industry continues to evolve.

To learn more about how we can help you navigate the changes in your metalworking talent, contact us today.

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At Davalyn, our tenured team of niche-focused talent acquisition experts takes on the hiring challenges of a diverse and growing set of industries. Make our perspectives your most powerful recruitment and retention resource.