Finding talent is 36 percent harder than it was just a few years ago. Seventy-seven percent predict those difficulties will continue. Meanwhile, two million jobs are at risk of going unfilled by 2030. For manufacturing and logistics employers who've been staring down statistics like these for far too long, the current influx of talent on the market may be just what the doctor ordered.

So who are these emergent and reemergent groups swooping in to plug skills gaps and save the day? Understanding each group’s needs and preferences will help you develop the right kind of tailored strategy you need to find and hire them.

women are returning to work

After being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, women are starting to return to the workforce. An astounding 397,000 women entered the workforce in May, which increased their share of the labor force participation rate to near pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Randstad's internal data also reflected this encouraging trend, revealing that 465,000 women had entered the workforce overall since March.

While all signs are pointing toward women wanting to return, gains in manufacturing have been lagging. As of June, women comprise just 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. While that is a slight increase from last month, and higher still than where it was this same time last year, the difference is mere tenths of a percentage point.

With manufacturing talent in short supply, engaging this reemergent group could help employers fill key vacancies and diversify their workforce at the same time. In order to do so, providing benefits that are most important to women will be critical. Childcare stipends, or if your facility allows, onsite childcare itself can go a long way to creating an environment that's more welcoming to women workers. Additionally, flexibility in scheduling is also highly coveted. Review skill sets and duties for all your positions and provide remote work for functions that allow it. For most other roles that will need to be accomplished onsite, look toward flex scheduling to ease some of the old nine-to-five constraints.

retirees are reentering the workforce

Remember the aging workforce? While the issue may still present a problem long-term, the reentry of retirees into the workforce has provided employers with a much needed jolt of experienced talent. In fact, workers between the ages of 55 and 64 are now working at their approximate pre-pandemic rate, and the unemployment rate for those over 65 has been almost cut in half from where it was in June of last year.

Rising concerns around inflation and waning virus concerns have created a perfect storm of reentry for retirement-age workers. Employers who rehire previously retired workers are poised to enjoy less ramp-up time, as workers are likely already familiar with their roles, coworkers and company environment. Beyond the first few days, however, the "boomerang" effect also comes into play. "Boomerang" employees, employees, who, in other words, have been rehired after a prior separation, have been found to be more productive than net-new hires overall. While it's unfortunate that our current climate has prohibited many from enjoying retirement, hiring back retirees is one way for employers to show their support and provide critical stability until economic conditions improve.

young workers are staking their claim

On the opposite end of the spectrum, younger workers are beginning their natural ascent in the workforce, and employers are taking notice. The share of new hires between the ages of 15 and 19 has been rising significantly year over year, with their share of the employment-to-population ratio increasing in turn, according to the last youth report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While this younger age group may not be able to help you fill positions that require more experience or training, they should not be overlooked for entry-level roles or apprenticeships. Bringing onboard young workers today can help you build a stronger pipeline for the near-term future, where promotions of known entities from within can help you avoid having to engage the competitive hiring market. Prioritizing hiring this generation now, with an eye toward promotion later on, can pay in other ways too: Forty percent of Gen Z workers said they'd even be willing to take a five percent pay cut for a company that provides these career growth opportunities.

In order to attract and hire these young workers, however, you'll need to make sure your benefits and offerings are aligned with the generation's workplace preferences. Flexibility, again, is critical (72 percent of Gen Z workers, in fact, said they left jobs over inflexible work policies), but so too are purpose and belonging. Company missions centered on doing meaningful work, a commitment to sustainability and improving diversity and inclusion are all highly prized by Gen Z candidates.

key takeaways

If hiring's been causing you major headaches lately, then it's time to try widening your scope. Focus on new talent from groups like women, retirees and young workers by providing the right kinds of benefits and working environments they expect from an employer today.

If you need more hiring and talent attraction tips to sharpen your strategy along the way, be sure to check out Randstad's Business Insights page.