In such a competitive employment market, attracting top talent in manufacturing is all about putting together the best possible employee value proposition, or EVP.
Salary and benefits are just the start of this: your employee value proposition is also about the perks and values that might not feature as a core component of the job description, but which you can bring into negotiations when trying to secure the ideal applicant.
At Michael Page Manufacturing, we work closely with our clients to help them build robust, competitive EVPs. We also recently surveyed 5,000 UK employees, including hundreds of manufacturing professionals, to find and compare the factors that lead pull top talent toward jobs, and those that push them away.
Read on for a summary of the key findings and actionable insights for employers.
Pull factors: How to attract manufacturing talent
We found that manufacturing employees had been in their current role significantly longer than the average across all sectors, at just over nine years compared with a UK-wide average of 7.2 years. Only 8% had started a new job in the past three months, compared with 14% across all industries.
The findings indicate that the manufacturing sector has a lower level of talent mobility, with employees on average taking longer to get ‘itchy feet’ (21.4 vs. 19.3 months), to start looking for alternative employment (4.6 vs. 4.3 months) and to secure a new job (4.2 vs. 3.8 months).
So how can you put together an EVP that entices manufacturing candidates out of their existing ‘safe’ roles?
Desired job attributes
When we asked respondents to select the most important aspects of a potential new job, three values emerged as the top considerations for manufacturing applicants:
- Work-life balance (68% vs. an all-sectors average of 64%)
- Job security (55% vs. 51%)
- Good colleague relationships (52% vs. 51%)
At Michael Page Manufacturing, our teams work closely with manufacturing companies of all sizes to help them effectively communicate the key points of their EVPs. Broad topics like those above can be hard to encapsulate in a job description, but it’s worth bearing them in mind both at the start of the hiring journey and throughout.
Joe Walton, Director of Michael Page Manufacturing, commented: “In a competitive talent market like this one, a well-thought-out EVP can be the difference between landing a top candidate and missing out on them. A strong EVP will show candidates why your organisation is the right one for them. It should highlight not only the package on offer, but also your business’s wider culture, commitment to talent development, and stance on prominent issues like sustainability.
Candidates’ reasons for pursuing new opportunities have evolved in the wake of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. Painting a picture of a business that meets the needs of the modern manufacturing professional is paramount to the success of your talent acquisition strategy.”
In terms of benefits, 28+ days of paid holiday per year was the most popular benefit, cited by 60% of manufacturing respondents, against an all-sector average of 52%. But we also found several benefits that were comparatively more popular among manufacturing professionals than other groups:
- Company pension contributions (Selected by 55% vs. 46%)
- Significant bonus opportunities (39% vs. 32%)
- Private medical insurance (36% vs. 27%)
This perhaps reflects the physical nature of some manufacturing roles, as employees appear to have an above-average interest in their physical wellbeing and retirement plans.
Again, we found that manufacturing employees are quite clear about the perks they value most when considering a new job. For instance, 53% said they would appreciate an early finish on a Friday, compared with an average of 39% of respondents across the survey as a whole.
We also found relatively high levels of support for:
- Training opportunities (34%)
- Well-designed offices (30%)
- Employee discount schemes (24%)
The mix of financial and quality-of-life factors highlights that EVP is not solely about how much money you can offer, but encompasses every aspect of the role and of your wider company culture.
Push factors: Why do manufacturing professionals move?
With relatively low levels of talent movement, what encourages manufacturing professionals to consider a change? The results of our survey found three standout reasons why manufacturing employees develop an urge to leave their roles:
- Feeling underpaid (31%)
- Feeling undervalued (29%)
- Worsening conditions (28%)
Across all sectors, feeling valued (25%) ranks higher than pay (24%) with working conditions coming in third (23%). All three factors are slightly higher in importance to manufacturing workers, with feeling underpaid topping the list.
For a deep dive into remuneration and benefits trends in the manufacturing space, download our free 2023 Guide to Salaries and Hiring Strategy in Manufacturing. Procurement, and Supply Chain today.
Manufacturing on the move
When asked about the past three months, only 8% of manufacturing employees had changed job, 6% lower than the survey average.
We also found that 12% of manufacturing respondents had been turned down for a job they applied for, and 13% had turned down a job offer – both figures slightly lower than the all-sector averages.
Looking at these figures, it’s clear that manufacturing stands out as an industry with relatively low levels of movement. That means two things for companies that want to hire:
- It may be harder to entice top talent away from competitors
- New hires should stay with you longer on average
What does this mean for your EVP?
While it’s clearly worth investing significant attention into your EVP for hiring reasons, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your EVP for existing employees. Ideally, your EVP should attract top talent, then keep them happy and engaged from day one, driving retention.
Whatever your talent needs, we have a team on hand to help. Our Page Consulting team specialises in workforce planning and helping organisations build their EVPs. When it comes to hiring, we have manufacturing-specific teams operating across multiple levels of the job market:
Michael Page for middle management roles.
Page Personnel for business/technical support and clerical roles.
Page Executive for executive level roles.
Page Outsourcing for custom volume hiring solutions.
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