U.S. manufacturers have suffered from a labor shortage for decades, declining from a high of 20 million workers in 1979 to just 11.5 million in 2010. In fact, a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute estimates that as many as 2.1 million industrial jobs could remain unfilled by 2030, causing as much as $1 trillion in losses by the end of the decade.

Even with the rise of automation, no factory can run without a skilled and dedicated workforce. But with so few workers to go around, it’s critical to attract top performers to your company — and retain them. What does it take to draw talent to your business? Here are the top five most effective manufacturing labor recruitment strategies to try in 2023.

1. Invest in education and training

The manufacturing labor shortage isn’t only caused by a lack of incoming workers — much of the existing labor pool just doesn’t have the skills necessary to work in today’s industrial environment. Manufacturers can help close the skills gap by providing education and training to their current workforce.

Identify your needs and reverse engineer seminars, training sessions, or short programs that can equip attendees with the required skills. Material and machinery suppliers often provide courses to get current and future employees up to speed on the skills needed to operate their machines. Many manufacturing trade organizations also provide educational resources to help companies develop their own programs.

2. Support the community

In many cases, workers come directly from the community surrounding your base of operations. Be a positive force in your region through investment and give-back initiatives to attract a steady flow of applicants. For example, you could support local trade schools and community college vocational programs by supplying them with equipment and materials for training.

Identify subject matter experts in your company that can serve as guest speakers at trade schools, conduct seminars, or hold live demonstrations. You could even fund third-party vocational training programs so they can offer classes for free, or provide scholarships to select students. Pay special attention to the military veteran community as well. Many return from service with machining and other in-demand trade skills, making them excellent recruits.

3. Advertise opportunities across multiple channels

Promote job openings and opportunities wherever you might find skilled workers. In addition to posting open positions on popular job search engines, leverage your presence on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook for recruitment. Establish relationships with local trade schools and community colleges for more access to recent grads, or even apprentices, so they can be the first to hear when something opens up. And the basics are important, too — don’t forget to put a sign up in the shop window.

4. Create a desirable work culture

A top way to attract new talent is to make your company a place people want to work. Consider offering initial signing bonuses for new hires — especially if you’re looking to fill positions quickly. Incentivize workers to stick around with additional bonuses after six months or a year.

Other benefits can go a long way to both attracting new recruits and retaining existing employees. Where possible, allow flexible hours to help workers meet the demands of family life and contribute to a more balanced and sustainable lifestyle. Providing tuition reimbursement for relevant training and degrees can also attract ambitious employees with growth goals and inspire long-term loyalty.

5. Build a strong reputation

The number one manufacturing labor recruitment tool at employers’ disposal in today’s market is word of mouth. Companies with a reputation of mistreating employees, producing low-quality products, or fostering a hostile or unpleasant shop environment will find it difficult to attract new talent and retain workers once word gets out. On the other hand, if a company is well-respected, talent will line up for the opportunity to work there.

You can foster a positive reputation by simply following the other recruitment strategies listed. Invest in educating the next generation of skilled tradespeople for increased name recognition among young manufacturing workers. Serve as a positive force in the community to strengthen local relationships and improve overall sentiment about your business. Provide good benefits and a friendly environment to bolster your company’s reputation as a great place to work.

The team at Master Fluid Solutions follows  these best practices, including education  community service, and many charitable donation  activities . For assistance in training workers on better cutting fluid management and fluid-related protocols, contact us to schedule a visit from our reps. Interested in working at Master Fluid Solutions? Explore our career opportunities here.