The manufacturing and logistics sector goes beyond its economic impact, playing a crucial role in shaping communities and driving innovation. It provides not only financial stability and lucrative careers but also opportunities for professionals to contribute to technological advancements, sustainability efforts and global connectivity. For hiring managers and talent acquisition leads, this sector represents a chance to attract top talent while making a significant impact on society and industry.

According to the 2024 Randstad’s Employer Brand Research (REBR) survey, the primary drivers influencing respondents in the manufacturing and logistics sector include AI adoption, retention trends, economic conditions, and equity.

This research offers valuable insights for employers on shaping their brands to attract and retain top talent. Globally, REBR surveyed nearly 173,000 people and over 6,000 companies. Several top U.S. firms shared data on their strategies for achieving brand recognition and loyalty. The study reflects the attractiveness of employers within the U.S. largest firms. Specifically, more than 6,000 individuals participated in 14-minute interviews.

In the manufacturing and logistics sector, 436 respondents shared their thoughts on these themes:

All four themes, AI adoption, retention trends, economic conditions, and equity are connected in one way or another. These factors influence job security and workforce stability, guiding employer hiring strategies. Understanding the crux of these themes will help companies adapt to employee expectations and market conditions.

AI adoption

AI is starting to make its mark. Employees show a range of attitudes toward AI, mixing optimism with caution as they consider its impact in the workplace. Many anticipate benefits, expecting AI to boost job satisfaction, while others are already experiencing its advantages. However, a notable portion remains skeptical about how much AI will truly change their work environment. This diversity of opinions highlights the ongoing adjustment within industries as they integrate AI, balancing excitement for its potential with concerns about its broader implications.

In the manufacturing and logistics sector, AI and automation are crucial for the future, yet training efforts remain questionable at best. This highlights a need for proactive initiatives by employers.

technology at heart of talent strategy

AI and other tools enable people to focus on relationship building and decision making. According to the Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends report, about 65 percent of talent leaders are investing in internal talent mobility technologies. This number is up nine points from last year and shows the impact of AI and other tools.

talent retention trends

Changing jobs is not uncommon. Sometimes it’s how people earn a better paycheck, get a much-needed promotion or broaden their skill set. But how often does it happen in the manufacturing and logistics roles? First, it depends on the demographic. The REBR responses tell us that workers across generations want better compensation due to rising costs and an improved work/life balance.

A few nuggets:

  • Across all generations, more employees (25 percent) plan to change employers in the first half of 2024.
  • Millennials (34.5 percent) feel the lack of career growth opportunities propels them to seek other opportunities.
  • Baby Boomers and older workers cite receiving any offer they could not refuse as the top reason for the job switch.
  • Only about 15 percent of Gen Xers changed jobs in 2023 and about 22 percent plan to change jobs this year.
  • Interestingly, there is a marginal dip (30 percent to 29 percent in 2024) in plans to change jobs among Gen Z respondents.
  • For all age sectors, a consistent top five reason for leaving was: too low compensation due to the rising cost of living.

What does this intel tell us? There seems to be a clear demand for improved compensation and work/life balance across all age groups. Employers need to address these issues to reduce turnover and keep their workforce satisfied. Meeting these needs is essential for maintaining a stable and motivated team.

From where manufacturing and logistics professionals sit, they value career development and the opportunity to reskill. The importance of having the opportunity to reskill remains crucial in 2024, with 43.3 percent of employees viewing it as very important, indicating ongoing demand and expectation for career development.

impact of economic conditions

The economic environment in the U.S. is volatile, with a mixture of growth and caution. This uncertainty has employees carefully looking at how their employers are prepared to face the challenges. Manufacturing and logistics sector respondents were asked in what way is your company financially supporting you to help cope with these rising costs?

  • About 32 percent said their salary raise covered part of the rising costs.
  • Almost 29 percent said they received nothing to assist with rising costs.
  • Just over 22 percent said their salary increase covered the rising costs.
  • About 11 percent reported receiving a one-time lump sum to assist with rising costs.

Inflation has hit hard and it’s telling that over a third of employees received no financial support from their employers. While some companies have stepped up, offering partial or full compensation for rising costs, there is a significant gap in support. This highlights the need for more comprehensive strategies to help employees manage inflation’s effects.

the importance of equity

EDI&A (equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility) in a company ensures that all employees have equal access to opportunities and resources, fostering a fair workplace.

According to the REBR results, overall and for all sectors, American employers are doing fairly well on equity. About 58 percent of Americans identify as a minority, a proportion notably higher than in other markets.

In the manufacturing and logistics sector, equity also resonates with respondents. If you break down the sector into women and then everyone else, here’s where it stands:

  • About 59 percent feel their organization values their unique attributes, characteristics, skills, experience and background. For women, that number drops to about 48 percent.
  • When asked if senior managers are fair when it comes to hiring or career advancement, about 60 percent of the respondents agree. About 56 percent of the female respondents agree.
  • In terms of if senior managers are fair when it comes to reskilling and upskilling opportunities, about 58 percent of the respondents agree and 54 percent of the female respondents follow closely behind.

What does this data tell us? While progress has been made when it comes to equity, the perception and sometimes reality is, we have work to continue to do.

why people leave

Seeking better compensation has taken the top spot as a reason people leave an employer. Over 34 percent of respondents are planning to leave their jobs in 2024 due to low compensation because of the rising costs of living. Employees seem to be expecting more competitive salaries that keep pace with inflation. To retain their workforce, companies need to adjust their compensation packages, ensuring employees feel valued and financially secure.

As one of the top talent companies in the world, we want to be your partner on this journey. Randstad is here to help you navigate the ever-changing world of work. Get in touch so we can find you the best talent to meet your needs today and tomorrow.