The manufacturing and technology sectors face similar challenges when it comes to recruiting top talent. For one, the number of jobs available remains large, but it continues to be difficult to fill these with people who have the adequate training. The manufacturing industry in particular has become dramatically advanced from a technological standpoint. Most of the labor formerly done by people is now being performed by machines, and those who are really needed are not the manual laborers but the ones who are able to program computers and operate the factories that are outputting products.
There are also additional concerns, although not all of them are bad for recruiters. In the manufacturing sector, the U.S. looks like it will continue to have advantages over many other countries when it comes to compensation. Staffing Industry Online reported that workers compensation grew only by a small amount since the beginning of the decade, which means that workers' salaries are comparable with countries outside the U.S.
"Despite a rapidly shrinking unemployment rate, U.S. manufacturing saw exceptionally low worker costs growth in recent years, especially compared to European countries with often weaker recoveries but more rigid labor markets," said Elizabeth Crofoot,, senior economist with the ILC program that performed the research. "Our dollar-denominated data reveal a broad spectrum among advanced economies: At one end, countries where labor costs are relatively low and still declining – notably Japan and Greece. At the other end, countries – led by Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Norway and Germany - where already high pay and benefits continue to rise at relatively rapid rates."
What this means is that manufacturing companies will have to face the challenge of getting people to take jobs that offer relatively lower salaries compared with other countries. The major advantage that employees have is that they are in such a great demand. It is possible that salaries will simply expand over time as companies will have to find ways to compete with other businesses that are offering higher salaries for similar skills.
One of these industries offering large employment benefits is the technology industry. People who have gone to school to study robotics and computer programming don't necessarily have to get a job in manufacturing the way someone specializing in deep sea drilling or arc welding would only be able to find work in these niche industries. Meanwhile, programming robots and operating complex machinery or computers appears to pay competitively whether someone takes a job at a technology firm or a business specializing in building products to ship out to market.
What this means for recruiters in both industries remains to be seen.
The future of hiring for technology
Network World predicted what it called a hiring explosion in the near future. This is particularly true for information technology. It cited a study by Robert Half that polled 2,400 chief information officers, finding that 87 percent plan to hire more people in the next year.
"We are seeing a noticeable increase in IT hiring and we expect this to continue. Because of increasing competition, we also are seeing pressure to raise salaries and other benefits," said Jason Berkowitz, vice president of client services, Seven Step RPO, who was interviewed for the survey.
Additional focus, according to Network World, will be placed on engaging and retaining the employees that get hired. This could be a very good thing for those in the technology industry, as both manufacturing and tech are starving for talent.
One might predict that the manufacturing industry will take a page from technology's book and begin to improve its hiring packages for workers who are coming into the business fresh from school.