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10 Keys to Recruiting Employees in the Manufacturing Industry

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | Workforce Development

Three manufacturing employees training to operate a machine.

Recruiting employees for manufacturing jobs requires looking for skilled talent in several ways.

For continuous improvement in workforce development, HR professionals and hiring managers must use different techniques to attract employees looking for a fair wage in everything from an apprenticeship to a high-level job.

The labor shortage created by the pandemic is only fueling the crisis faced by the manufacturing sector. Following this blueprint can help you recruit the best employees for your company and help you stand out amongst your competitors.

Recruiting Manufacturing jobs

According to government statistics, with an aging workforce and workers retiring earlier, the average age of manufacturing employees is 44. Fewer people are working in the manufacturing jobs sector now than they did years ago. Automation and the types of skills needed for these jobs can make the sector's image challenging. There’s a perception of manufacturing jobs that makes recruiting difficult for HR.

1. Make Hiring for Manufacturing Jobs Easy

A few simple clicks through either an app or an online desktop form makes hiring straightforward. So why make it complicated? Many online job sites use features where in just a few clicks, people can apply. Adopting this model streamlines the application process for applicants and manufacturers alike.

2. Connecting with Educators

Don't be afraid to broaden your search to local community colleges and technical schools that have students in training and who are educated with the skills your company needs.

STEM students focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math can have a job even before they graduate. By building a good relationship with these schools, you'll get the manufacturing employees you need. The school also gets to tout its placement rate. See what the Washington State Board for Community and Technical College (SBCTC) has to offer employers

It's a win-win!

3. Create an Apprenticeship Program

If you can't find skilled talent in your area, consider creating an apprenticeship program. Use talented and long-term employees to teach new hires the skills they need or hire local college instructors to teach the basics right in your facility. Connect with organizations such as Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) and learn about their apprentice programs.

To ensure retention rates stay steady, your company may consider having employees sign a contract to keep them there for a specific period of time for maximum benefit. 

4. Build the Pipeline

Creating a passive talent pool takes time but building a pipeline to future jobs will help your company when it requires skilled talent. Investing the time to search, attend industry events, and engage with potential candidates are ways to build the pipeline for future recruits.

Have a stack of resumes ready to go when you need them most!

Your dedication and determination will benefit the company, in the long run, to hire qualified manufacturing employees quicker.

5. Stress Workforce Development AND Workplace Development

Constant upgrades in technology mean employees will need training and development, whether college-level courses in your manufacturing facility or offsite. 

Make it known that your company offers these types of courses and other continuous learning opportunities. Ensure employees understand the value of what they are learning and how it helps to further their future with the company. For instance, an employee who completes a set number of courses may be eligible for a raise or a new position.

Continuous improvement is essential in any sector, especially in manufacturing, where job functions and technology are constantly changing and there is a slim workforce.

6. Use Social Media

Younger people use social media almost exclusively to search for jobs. Recruiters can use these tools to expand their base and reach people they never thought possible.

Enlist these social media platforms to maximize your recruiting:


Use YouTube to upload videos of walk-throughs of your facility and their potential workspace. Show what it looks like and what kind of environment they would be working in. Video messages can also feature executives talking about what types of employees they are looking for and the benefits and growth potential your company offers.


Facebook's group messaging feature allows recruiters to talk directly to candidates in a comfortable forum for potential employees. You can engage in substantive conversation with a candidate.


Scan Reddit's forums to look for specialized workers. These people often hang out in group forums and are not found on other online channels.

Use the positive stories of your employees in recruiting. Why do they like working there, and what will future employees like about working there? Don't be afraid to use their stories as a recruiting tool.

7. Hire an Agency

Hiring an employment agency can be a quick way to get the skilled employees you need. The agency likely already contains large volumes of qualified applicants, and by telling them the exact professional talent you are seeking, you get access to a quick list. 

Sometimes, however, the agency does not contain the same set of values your company does, so it's crucial to analyze further the employees you are seeking. 

8. Incentives 

You likely already have great manufacturing employees in your crew, so why not reach out to them directly with incentives for new hires? These employees can also speak about the positive work environment and excellent benefits your company offers. 

Gift cards, days off, dress-down days, a good parking spot, etc., are all ways to build a positive workplace and incentivize your manufacturing employees to recommend friends or family members for a job.

9. Online Reviews

Many websites such as Glassdoor contain a section where former and current employees review everything from the hiring process to working conditions. Your company may not rate high in some of these reviews, which could hurt you in recruiting.

It's a challenge to view these comments but looking improve weak areas and focusing on workforce development could help with reviews, employee culture, and future recruits.

10. Fair Wages

When there is a shortage of workers, wages rise for employees, so don't be afraid to offer competitive and fair wages for your current and future employees.

Bonuses also play a key role in not only recruiting but helping with the turnover rate. Employees who feel they are valued will stick around longer and will speak volumes to others about their positive work experiences. 

Let Impact Washington Help You

Impact Washington is Washington State's local MEP. We help manufacturers with recruiting, workforce development, and other areas of the industry to help you be on top of your game. We can educate your company, and create and develop the necessary solutions to make sure you succeed.

Contact us today and see how we can help your company operate more efficiently and become a more competitive business.

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