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manufacturing and logistics

Supply chain shortcomings. Material shortages. An acute scarcity of qualified workers. Manufacturing and logistics firms today face shortages of almost every kind, but one thing that is in abundance at manufacturing and logistics organizations today is the sheer number of challenges they'll need to overcome in order to thrive in the year ahead.

Yet embedded within those challenges are also opportunities. So let's unpack what's next for forward-looking manufacturing and logistics companies right now, paying particularly close attention to the levers at their disposal as they seek to drive better talent outcomes in 2022.

employers will have to elevate compensation and benefits

From sourcing to onboarding, retention to scheduling, manufacturing and logistics companies aren't strangers to talent pain points. Issues like these have been recurring for years, and many employers in the space have experimented with a variety of measures to counteract them: raising pay, offering additional benefits, introducing more flexible scheduling and so on.

But with signs that the Great Resignation is accelerating, with more than one quarter of the manufacturing and logistics workforce eligible for retirement in the next few years and with as many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs at risk of going unfilled by 2030, 2022 may be the year manufacturing and logistics firms have to get serious about becoming and staying competitive when it comes to talent attraction and retention.

Such a conclusion is clearly supported by this survey, which found that sourcing high-quality candidates today is 36 percent harder for manufacturing hiring managers than it was just three years ago — a period during which the size of the available workforce effectively doubled. Meanwhile, manufacturing productivity is now more labor-intensive and labor-dependent than it was before the pandemic.

So how can employers thrive from a talent standpoint in 2022? For one, manufacturing and logistics companies won't be able to rely on a ready supply of candidates to fill their shifts. Instead, they'll have to use every tool at their disposal to attract talent — including raising their hourly rates, improving benefits, re-examining workplace culture and more.

displaced talent could be a silver lining

Faced with a shortage of qualified workers in the industry, employers may be well served to look outside it.

As waves of layoffs, restructurings and closures swept through retail to hospitality and everything in between, thousands of workers were forced to leave behind their established career paths, and many of them are now seriously considering alternatives. So why shouldn't manufacturing and logistics employers look to bring these workers in?

Of course, to win over these workers, competitive compensation will be key — but it's far from the only factor to consider. Pay may be paramount, but as we'll see in the following two sections, combining it with a heightened focus on workplace safety and skilling initiatives may ultimately determine the difference between success and failure.

a redoubled focus on workplace safety

The pandemic required new health and safety precautions for virtually all employers, but few sectors were impacted quite as severely as manufacturing and logistics. Today, as variants emerge and the pandemic lingers, workers increasingly demand improved health and safety policies and benefits — and employers should carefully consider listening. In fact, many are already offering extended health and wellness benefits in efforts to better care for their workers and stave off retention crises.

But these companies' approaches aren't just focused on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. They're also focused on improving mental health, creating a sense of "psychological safety" and ensuring employees can find better work/life balance, just to name a few. Companies offering these benefits are rapidly becoming employers of choice for today's workers, and they're enjoying the positive impacts to hiring and retention that come with it. Employers that fail to rethink their health and wellness offerings, on the other hand, will only find it increasingly hard to find and keep the talent they need in 2022.

bringing to life upskilling and reskilling initiatives

As manufacturing and logistics employers are only too well aware, new skill sets are increasingly required — even for traditional front-line production roles like forklift operators or assemblers. While some workers already have those skills, most won't — meaning upskilling and reskilling initiatives should be a top priority in 2022 and beyond. Here's why:

  • For starters, the appetite for upskilling is growing across the board: 77 percent of employees indicated that they were eager to upskill prior to the pandemic, and since then, more than one in three workers is already acquiring new skills, while a similar number say they’re ready to reskill completely (a good sign for the prospect of converting displaced workers, obviously).
  • This level of interest is echoed by manufacturing and logistics employees specifically: Nearly half of front-line manufacturing workers today want to work in more digital environments, and leverage technology to perform their jobs more effectively.
  • In connection with the aging manufacturing and logistics workforce mentioned earlier, studies also show that younger professionals are twice as likely to take advantage of upskilling and reskilling opportunities than their older peers.

But there's one tiny problem: None of this seems to be happening. Not yet, anyway. And not on the kind of scale required for manufacturing and logistics employers to secure long-term access to the qualified talent they need. Across the board, in fact, just five percent of all organizations reportedly rolled out new upskilling or reskilling initiatives in response to the global pandemic.

For manufacturing and logistic employers today, that has to change, and fast. So you should expect to see enhanced upskilling and reskilling programs adopted far more widely this year. Soon, that's probably going to be table stakes — a must-have capability for manufacturing and logistics employers looking to lure talent down the line.

takeaways

  • Manufacturing and logistics employers are going to be forced to rethink talent acquisition strategies wholesale in 2022. Especially in the context of the Great Resignation and other workforce trends, piecemeal measures like modest pay increases or additional benefits offerings probably won't be enough to really move the needle.
  • Workers displaced by the global pandemic could be a vital source of talent and help overturn chronic human capital challenges in the manufacturing and logistics space. However, organizations will have to get proactive.
  • Prioritizing health and wellness is going to be absolutely crucial to talent outcomes. Once upon a time, employers could maintain poor track records for safety, while nonetheless landing a steady stream of reliable workers. But those days are long gone — and they're not likely to come back.
  • Upskilling and reskilling initiatives at manufacturing and logistics companies will continue to evolve and reach significantly greater maturity in 2022. With adequate investment and execution at scale, these efforts could even rewrite the overall outlook for human capital in the manufacturing and logistics space. Time will tell.

national salaries

Let's review the hourly wages for entry-level, mid-level and senior-level positions.

assembly
assembly entry-level mid-level senior-level
assembly line foreman $18 - $23 $23 - $30 $30 - $39
electronics assembler (general) $13 - $16 $16 - $20 $20 - $25
electronics assembler (precision) $14 - $20 $20 - $23 $23 - $26
fabricator assembler $11 - $13 $13 - $16 $16 - $20
product assembler (bench) $14 - $18 $18 - $21 $21 - $25
product assembler (machine) $12 - $14 $14 - $17 $17 - $22
inspection
inspection entry-level mid-level senior-level
quality control inspector $18 - $20 $20 - $23 $23 - $29
quality control tester $21 - $29 $29 - $36 $36 - $42
quality inspector $13 - $15 $15 - $19 $19 - $26
machine operation
machine operation entry-level mid-level senior-level
CNC machinist $22 - $28 $28 - $35 $35 - $42
computer-controlled machine tool operator $14 - $17 $17 - $20 $20 - $25
general machinist $14 - $17 $17 - $22 $22 - $28
machine feeder $12 - $13 $13 - $16 $16 - $19
machine operator $15 - $18 $18 - $23 $23 - $28
machine operator helper $13 - $17 $17 - $19 $19 - $22
molding machine operator $11 - $13 $13 - $16 $16 - $20
numerical control machine operator $18 - $22 $22 - $28 $28 - $35
maintenance
maintenance entry-level mid-level senior-level
electromechanical technician $22 - $27 $27 - $34 $34 - $40
electronics technician $19 - $25 $25 - $32 $32 - $39
facilities maintenance worker $15 - $20 $20 - $26 $26 - $32
field service technician $21 - $26 $26 - $33 $33 - $43
janitor $12 - $14 $14 - $18 $18 - $23
maintenance mechanic $21 - $24 $24 - $28 $28 - $34
management
management entry-level mid-level senior-level
assembly supervisor $23 - $30 $30 - $39 $39 - $49
assistant foreman $17 - $23 $23 - $27 $27 - $35
assistant plant manager $23 - $36 $36 - $50 $50 - $77
assistant production supervisor $18 - $23 $23 - $30 $30 - $39
logistics manager $27 - $35 $35 - $46 $46 - $61
maintenance manager $26 - $34 $34 - $43 $43 - $53
maintenance supervisor $26 - $34 $34 - $43 $43 - $53
operations manager $34 - $46 $46 - $53 $53 - $77
plant manager $41 - $52 $52 - $68 $68 - 87
production manager $41 - $52 $52 - $68 $68 - $87
quality control manager $32 - $46 $46 - $52 $52 - $70
warehouse manager $26 - $34 $34 - $43 $43 - $50
production
production entry-level mid-level senior-level
CNC programmer $22 - $28 $28 - $35 $35 - $42
injection molder $13 - $16 $16 - $20 $20 - $25
manufacturing worker $12 - $15 $15 - $18 $18 - $22
production helper $12 - $15 $15 - $18 $18 - $22
production laborer $12 - $15 $15 - $18 $18 - $22
production machinist $17 - $22 $22 - $28 $28 - $33
production scheduler $21 - $27 $27 - $34 $34 - $40
tool and die maker $22 - $27 $27 - $32 $32 - $38
welder $18 - $22 $22 - $26 $26 - $32
warehouse/distribution
warehouse/distribution entry-level mid-level senior-level
driver $15 - $18 $18 - $23 $23 - $28
forklift operator $14 - $17 $17 - $20 $20 - $26
inventory control clerk $14 - $18 $18 - $22 $22 - $24
kitter $10 - $12 $12 - $14 $14 - $17
manual packager $13 - $16 $16 - $20 $20 - $25
materials handler $14 - $16 $16 - $19 $19 - $23
order puller $12 - $14 $14 - $17 $17 - $21
picker/packer $13 - $14 $14 - $17 $17 - $19
shipping and receiving clerk $15 - $19 $19 - $22 $22 - $26
stock handler $13 - $16 $16 - $19 $19 - $22
warehouse laborer $14 - $16 $16 - $19 $19 - $22
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