2024: The Year of Uncertainty & Flexibility in Manufacturing  

“The reality is, it’s a tight labor market. We’re going to have more job openings than people who are actively looking for work, and that means we have to think differently about the way we hire. We’re not just competing with other manufacturers, but also competing with other sectors in ways that I don’t think we did before.” 

In this Shift Talk episode, we gained insights from Chad Moutray, Chief Economist of the National Association of Manufacturers and Director for the Center of Manufacturing Research at the Manufacturing Institute. 

Here are the highlights from the episode:  

Navigating Supply Chain Volatility 

Today’s supply chain dynamics are anything but predictable. The key question is: how ready is your business to respond to sudden, unexpected demands? It’s not merely about staying afloat. The goal is to be strategically positioned to seize new opportunities that these challenges present. Just-in-time production is all the rage, but what about your workforce? Can it adapt to rapid changes and do you have a program setup to recruit and retain these workers?


The Labor Market Conundrum

We’re facing a unique scenario in the labor market: an abundance of job openings but not enough active job seekers. This demands a hard look at how we approach recruitment. It’s no longer enough to just post job ads and get people in the door. You need to attract and retain talent in a highly competitive job market and stand out from the competition. Plus, the manufacturing sector has struggled with negative perceptions of being hard work for long hours in old antiquated buildings.   

Flexibility: A Core Requirement 

The call for flexible work is getting louder and clearer in the manufacturing sector. Is your business listening and, more importantly, responding? Introducing flexible work schedules and opportunities for advancement is more than just a perk—it’s becoming a critical factor in attracting and retaining a diverse and dynamic workforce that will stick around for years. 

Redefining Manufacturing Jobs 

There’s a pressing need to change the narrative surrounding manufacturing jobs. It’s time to break away from the old clichés and spotlight the sector’s progress in technology and innovation. The question remains: How effectively are you communicating this modern, tech-savvy face of manufacturing to potential recruits? There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in manufacturing that other industries simply can’t compete against. Are you doing enough to get the word out about all the benefits workers in today’s manufacturing sites can enjoy? 

Take the first step today!

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