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Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs Reach Record High: What Staffing Agencies Should Know

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, December 18, 2020

large airplane factory with worker and American flag in background


Recent data from the Labor Department found that unfilled positions in the manufacturing sector have hit an all time high, with open positions hitting 525,000 in October. To put this in perspective, job openings in manufacturing average 273,000 between the years 2000 and 2017. This year has been remarkable in so many ways for the U.S. manufacturing sector and this new data should be an eye opener for agencies that help industrial companies with their staffing needs. 

Manufacturing encompasses a broad array of skills and expertise, so finding the right people for the job can be a long and difficult process. In a COVID-19 world, there is often not enough time or in-house personnel to recruit, hire and manage new staff. Because of this, many manufacturing companies choose to work with staffing agencies to find the right team members.

However, managing the needs of employers and the abilities of potential employees was challenging enough before the onset of COVID-19.

Now the entire workforce is in disarray, with some companies laying off sizable portions of their staff and others hiring nonstop. It is clear that manufacturing as an industry needs every resource available to find the right staff.

As a staffing agency, you are one of the most critical in their search for qualified employees. Take a look at what manufacturers are looking for and how to leverage that to expand your client list.

1. Know What Manufacturers Are Looking For

Knowing what manufacturing employers want is the first step in growing your client base. With as broad a field as manufacturing, you'll need to drill down deeper in order to really identify with your ideal client. What sector of manufacturing do you want to specialize in?

While it is quite possible to cover all segments of the industry, focusing on a few specific occupations can help improve visibility and perceived authority when employers search for a staffing agency.

Specialization also makes cold calls much "warmer" as you already have an understanding of that employer's challenges and are approaching from a position of helping rather than just selling.

2. Be Discerning

When interviewing potential employees, recruiters with deep knowledge about the industry not only help the employer but also the candidates. Occasionally, individuals may think they have the qualifications for one job but, upon listening to them, it becomes clear that they would be a much better fit in a different role. This discernment can only happen when a recruiter truly understands the mission and purpose of their client companies.

For example, an ISO certified facility will need individuals who can work well within the framework of compliance. A company that builds accessories for gas and oil exploration will need people who are skilled in metalworking, welding and machining, while a company that makes dinnerware may need staff who understands how to work with ceramics.

Having a leg up on job requirements gives companies confidence that the recruitment and hiring process will result in them getting the best personnel possible.

That being said, many times a staffing agency will offer positions to individuals looking to gain new experience or try out new occupations. Often these are part-time positions that can turn into a full-time job if things work well. The right aptitude and basic skill set in a given candidate is the deciding factor in these types of placements.

Being specialized also helps when marketing positions to potential employees. Job descriptions that are accurate lead to satisfaction across the board. Employers receive staff that is fully aware of what is expected of them, resulting in less turnover due to frustration or inability to perform. Employers will never have to hear the words “This job is not what they said it would be.”

3. Make Social Connections

Another important aspect to consider besides specialized industry knowledge is contacts within the field. The more companies that a staffing agency has access to, the more locations there are to recommend to staff.

Initiating these during the COVID-19 pandemic means finding alternatives to in-person meetings and trade shows. Social media is a highly effective method of expanding your network even without physical presence.

For a soft approach, liking or commenting on a company's social media posts can lead to continuing interaction. Over time, this interaction can open the door to more focused conversations about staffing and how they are meeting those needs. More aggressive tactics essentially bypass the buildup and go direct for asking about their staffing situation.

4. Leverage Content

Content marketing can be another useful tool for gaining attention. You can post photos or videos to apps like Instagram or write articles for websites like LinkedIn. These can lead to connections as companies see your posts and opt to engage. As a result, this builds your credibility and allows others to see who you have worked with. This digital footprint heightens your reputation and increases the likelihood that you will be a trustworthy provider.

5. Expand Your Lead Generation

An excellent lead generation resource for staffing agencies in the manufacturing sector is IndustrySelect. They profile over 500,000 industrial companies, providing data on size, direct competitors and executive contacts. All of this information is compiled by a team of professional researchers who ensure that only the most accurate data is delivered to you. What better way to establish contact, learn about specific sectors and provide the clearest picture to your candidates?

Visit IndustrySelect today for a free demo of what is sure to be your most valuable staffing resource in building your manufacturing client base.



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