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Despite Manufacturing Skill Gaps, Siemens Is Hiring & Thriving

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

On Wednesday, May 9, Mike Brown, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, Americas Region, for Siemens USA, joined me at the IndustryWeek Manufacturing & Technology Conference & Expo in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were there to share our ideas on how manufacturers can address one of the most serious challenges we face today: the skilled talent shortage. How big is the challenge? According to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, between 2015 and 2025 the U.S. manufacturing sector will need to fill nearly 3.5 million jobs but, due to the skills gap, 2 million of those jobs are likely to go unfilled. And, with the unemployment rate at a 10-year low, the question of where to turn for experienced, highly-skilled technical talent is very real for manufacturers.

Our manufacturing clients have also seen their job vacancies steadily rise. No company understands this skill shortage better than Siemens, a manufacturing and technology powerhouse so large that in the U.S. alone it has 50,000 employees and 60 manufacturing sites. Siemens builds trains, steam and gas turbines, deploys software to automate factories and installs systems to run smarter infrastructure all at a massive global scale. As Mike Brown explained to our audience in Raleigh, all of Siemens’ jobs are highly technical and require significant technical knowledge and experience. On any given day, they deal with about 1,500 highly technical open positions.

Siemens Pivots to Proactive Engagement with Five Critical Steps
Recognizing that reactive recruiting efforts were no longer delivering the strong manufacturing candidates the company needed, the talent acquisition leadership at Siemens decided it was time to get more proactive, targeted and digitally engaged. For those of you who could not attend this year’s conference or who are also confronting a critical manufacturing talent squeeze, here are five steps Siemens took to reform and revitalize the company’s approach to recruiting for manufacturing roles.

Embrace Proactive Recruitment
Reactive recruiting methods, such as posting jobs and waiting for the right resumes to come in, no longer work in a job market where the unemployment rate is at a 10-year low. Siemens decided they needed to get ahead of the hiring cycle and focus on engaging strong candidates prior to jobs being available for them. This meant focusing on strategic talent engagement using tech recruiting and targeting tools as well as employer branding to reach and connect with potential hires outside of specific searches or hiring pushes. The goal is to increase the community of manufacturing talent that knows and wants to work for Siemens.

Profile Candidates by Job Families
To be more informed and targeted in the recruitment process, Siemens began building profiles of the types of candidates they want to hire and sorting them into job families. By increasing their talent targeting efforts, Siemens became better at understanding what they needed in a job. They also increased their potential candidate pool by focusing less on specific job titles or narrow skills and more broadly on experience, knowledge and coachability.

Develop a Pipeline of High-Caliber Military Talent
Identifying strong talent pools on which to focus recruiting efforts has become key to Siemens success. One talent pool that has proven extremely fruitful for Siemens has been military. We’ve partnered with Siemens since 2003 to help them target veterans with the experiences and skillsets they need. The Siemens Military Talent Program with Orion Talent launched in 2010 and has provided a continuous pipeline of high-caliber military talent. Siemens has hired over 2,700 veterans since the partnership began and has committed to hiring more than 1,200 veterans over the next three years. This targeting of talent within a skilled work population has been key in helping Siemens bridge the manufacturing talent gap.

Provide Robust Training
Siemens continues to make significant commitments to training and development as it transforms, along with the rest of the marketplace, into a fully digital corporation. That effort requires talent and a highly skilled workforce. While Siemens continues to look for skilled talent outside the organization, the company is committed to training and building the skilled workforce it needs. For example, the company has committed to providing training and development services to each and every employee. In 2018, Siemens plans to double the number of states (and nearly the number of participants) in its celebrated apprenticeship program, which upskills existing employees and new hires for new roles and opportunities. Another example of its training focus is its global learning centers. One of Siemens global learning campus hubs is in Orlando, Florida where the company provides robust classroom learning as well as hundreds of online training programs.

Engage by Contributing, Impacting & Communicating
Siemens is a proud manufacturing enterprise and a powerful aspect of the corporate ethos is the belief that the organization can only truly succeed if it fulfills needs within society and adds lasting value to the countries and communities its employees work in. It’s part of their culture that employees not only view Siemens as a good place to work, but also see how the things they are doing directly impacts our society.

Communicating this community-minded ethos to candidates and employees has become a key part of attracting, hiring and retaining top talent for Siemens. The company has taken a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to its talent engagement program, one that spans the entire employment life cycle and is dedicated to promoting the great work employees do and the impact it has on the world. While it’s not a heavy-hitting, direct recruitment push, thoughtful talent engagement is helping Siemens maintain a magnetic employment brand that top workers are willing to seek out, even in opportunity-rich job markets.

In addition to these five recruitment strategies, Mike and I also shared with the audience at the Manufacturing & Technology Conference, 10 steps to building a more proactive recruitment program and several lessons in how to hire top military talent. Click here to get a copy of the full presentation or to learn more, contact Orion Talent today.


Mike Starich is CEO of Orion Talent, a provider of skilled talent acquisition, recruitment optimization and military hiring to businesses in manufacturing, supply chain, energy, healthcare and more. Prior to joining Orion in 1992, Mike served in the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years as a Flight Officer and Marine Officer Recruiter. Follow him on Twitter @OrionTalent, or on LinkedIn.

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