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According to a recent Marcum National Manufacturing Survey, manufacturers are feeling a mixture of confidence and caution about the year ahead. An improved supply chain and resilient economy are counterbalanced by ongoing labor shortages, high interest rates and inflation, and economic fluctuations. Here are a few key survey findings, and strategic solutions for the industry’s most pressing issues.

 Key Survey Findings:  

  • 75% of respondents said workforce recruitment remains a critical issue for their company. This is a slight decrease from the previous year’s survey.
  • 88% of respondents anticipate replacing 15% of their workforce due to retirements over the next few years.
  • Manufacturers expect a lower employment growth rate overall, fewer expected retirements, and lower planned wage increases in the coming year. In 2022, 77% planned to increase pay by at least 5%; In 2023, only 58% planned to do so. 
  • Only 38% of respondents plan to raise prices to cope with high interest rates, compared to 70% the year previously. Instead, manufacturers plan to reduce expenses.
  • The top three priorities for the immediate future are to increase productivity and profitability, expand through acquisition and grow footprint, and compete on price. 

It’s not surprising that workforce recruitment remains a top issue facing America’s manufacturers. Approximately ¾ of manufacturers report having difficulty finding the workers they need due to an aging and retiring workforce, the rapidly changing technology landscape, and a younger generation of workers seemingly disinterested in manufacturing careers. The answer lies in new, forward-thinking solutions, not in what’s worked in the past. Whether through the use of generative AI in recruiting, introducing new training programs to upskill their existing workforce, promoting manufacturing careers to students to combat misconceptions, or forming partnerships offering accessible and hands-on training, manufacturers must rise to the challenge to meet their goals and combat the 2.1 million worker shortage.

Veterans Have the Skills You’re Looking For

A promising solution to the workforce shortage lies in tapping into the skills of military veterans. Many manufacturers are turning to military candidates to fill their open requisitions and they haven’t looked back. Former service members are innovative and productive with unmatched technical training and expertise, proven leadership skills, and a deep understanding of the relationship between quality, quantity, maintenance, safety, and the people they supervise. Orion’s veteran candidates thrive in any manufacturing setting, from labor-intensive, low-tech to semiconductor chip manufacturing. Some of the positions we’ve filled include Operations Leadership, Maintenance Technicians, Quality Engineering and Improvement, Logistics and Transportation, Leadership Development Programs, Sales Professionals, Electricians, Production Supervisors, Project Managers, Field Service, and much more.

Siemens is a vocal proponent of veteran hiring in manufacturing. This technology powerhouse is a long-time partner of Orion Talent for veteran recruitment and has recruited more than 2,500 veterans, with over 60% working in STEM roles. Many veterans have found success at Siemens working in field service. “Our Veterans possess exactly what’s needed in this moment of digital transformation. Not only do they have strong technical skills and leadership experience, but they know what it’s like to advance a mission bigger than themselves,” explains Barbara Humpton, Siemens USA CEO, “At Siemens, our mission is to serve society. And so, we’re thankful for the Veterans who’ve joined our team.”

The Benefits of Upskilling

Many companies recruit veterans for their hard skills, but the soft skills these men and women possess are just as, if not more, valuable. Between leadership, dedication, problem-solving, and a strong work ethic, the military community is an excellent talent pool from which to recruit.

Upskilling enables manufacturers to expand their access to military talent who may not yet be technically trained in a specific specialty. In doing so, they can train talent on the specific traits necessary to best perform their job. This allows companies to gain a competitive edge. Orion Talent’s partnership with Tooling U-SME makes this easier than ever. This program handles talent attraction and upskilling for you, delivering your organization a pipeline of industry-certified, military veteran manufacturing talent ready to work from Day 1. Our candidates are certified in Robotics in Manufacturing Fundamentals (RFM), as a Certified Manufacturing Associate (CMfgA), or in Electric Vehicles Fundamentals (EVF). Filling open manufacturing roles with top talent has never been easier.  

A Way Forward for Manufacturers

According to Sarah Peiker, CEO of Orion Talent, “The solution is right in front of us– we simply must connect employers with this military talent. They can be deployed quickly and at scale to fill critical gaps in America’s skilled manufacturing, semiconductor, cybersecurity, and infrastructure sectors.”

With over 31 years of experience in veteran recruiting, Orion Talent brings a wealth of expertise. Our proprietary military database and deep-rooted networks within the military community enable us to deliver the veteran talent necessary to close the skills gap and revitalize the industry. Learn more about Orion’s recruiting services for manufacturers here and visit our Manufacturing Talent Solutions page to learn more about our Tooling U-SME partnership and find out how we can help you upskill and build a robust pipeline of military talent.

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