Prep Your Skilled Trades Talent Strategy with Pipeline and Retention Programs

Sunlit manufacturing building with steel beams

With the talent shortage likely to continue for years to come, American manufacturers are increasingly interested in innovative ideas and potential solutions to their staffing requirements. As noted in Aerotek’s recent white paper, Future-Proofing Manufacturing’s Skilled Trades Talent Needs, groups from schools to industry associations to staffing firms are employing creative strategies specifically targeted at helping manufacturers develop a pipeline for new workers and retain current employees.

Retooling education programs

Over the past several years, a number of high-level initiatives have surfaced in support of education and training for the next generation of skilled craftsmen. Industry leaders have testified before Congress to spotlight the need to inspire young people to join the trades’ profession.

Reevaluation of university programs in order to better match real-world employer needs and expectations with the foundational skills of new graduates promises to improve the future-readiness of the talent pool. In San Diego, Aerotek worked with a local economic development council, regional college and the National Tooling and Machining Association to develop and implement a curriculum to help train machinists and prepare them for jobs in the industry with great success. The program has a 98 percent placement rate, and about 20 candidates from this program are placed with Aerotek clients annually.

Industry takes the lead in training

NTMA has launched other significant initiatives to recruit and train the next generation of manufacturing workers, including the National Robotics League. In a competition that culminates in gladiator-style robot battle competitions, the program provides free resources to help students design and build their robots, including student licenses for SolidWorks.

Retention issues can hamper manufacturers’ success

Attracting new employees won’t help you in the long run if you’re losing current employees at the same time. The high cost of employee turnover, including reduced productivity, lower quality of work as remaining employees are stretched thin, lost knowledge and additional training costs for the replacement worker.

Industry leaders can partner on an everyday basis to develop attainable near-term solutions for retaining quality employees. “Internally, the most effective companies are really looking at hiring and developing talent from the ground up,” notes Nathan Coin, manager of Commercial Divisional Operations for Aerotek, an associate NTMA member.

Case study: Increasing retention

Investing time and energy in collaboration at the front-end can be truly transformative in the end result. A major industrial manufacturer recently found itself struggling to acquire and retain quality employees. Previous recruiting efforts experience major deficiencies, including:

  • Inadequately experienced candidates
  • A lack of open communication between employees and management
  • Issues with candidate screening

This cascaded into serious challenges that hampered daily operations:

  • Issues with attendance
  • High turnover
  • Workplace safety concerns

The company partnered with Aerotek, which created a customized screening policy, consulted on market conditions and recommended pay adjustments to enable the client to compensate competitively within its industry and market. Aerotek also streamlined communication with all company stakeholders to ensure two-way feedback on performance.

The results? The company experienced an 80 percent reduction in attrition, workforce stabilization and increased productivity, ultimately surpassing its annual profit goals for the first time in years.

Want to learn more? Access Future-Proofing Manufacturing’s Skilled Trades Talent Needs now