Experts estimate that a quarter of the country’s manufacturing workforce will retire by 2030, potentially creating a massive skill shortage in Canada. And this isn’t just a uniquely Canadian problem as the US is also anticipating over two million unfilled jobs within the same timeframe.

Moreover, this isn’t just a pandemic-related issue. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, which represents more than 2,500 companies across Canada, says that 70 per cent of manufacturers had a shortage of skills and labour, a 30 per cent increase from 2016.

What are the challenges facing the manufacturing sector when attracting young, skilled workers, and what are the solutions?

Outdated Perceptions

Part of the challenge with attracting new talent to the manufacturing sector is that a lot of young entrants are more interested in professional roles like doctors, lawyers, or software developers instead of “old fashioned” blue collar work.

Indeed, New Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), part of the federal government’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative, found that young people describe manufacturing as “repetitive, boring, dirty, and dangerous.”

Manufacturing a New Image

However, while young people may have images of smokestacks and grim workers toiling away in dark dungeons filled with assembly lines, the fact is that the industry is filled with cutting-edge technology like:

  • The industrial internet of things
  • Computer and laser-guided systems
  • 3D printers
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Artificial intelligence, and more

NGen launched to address these outdated perceptions and emphasize to young Canadians that the manufacturing sector is full of exciting new technology.

Employers may also have to consider ways they can make schedules more flexible. Many organizations have embraced remote or hybrid work following the pandemic—about nine out of ten according to McKinsey. However, manufacturing isn’t similarly positioned to take advantage of this trend because most workers need to be physically present.

Four-day workweeks and other flexible scheduling options are possibilities. Employers could also provide childcare benefits to single parents, which has been shown to attract, retain, and advance more female employees, who have been historically underrepresented in the industry.

We Know Your Industry

A streamlined hiring process can also help manufacturers land coveted applicants quickly. In a tight labour market, competition for skilled workers can be fierce. Employers who don’t move fast enough on a promising applicant are in danger of losing them to a competitor.

Triton offers industry-leading background check solutions for the manufacturing sector. Our criminal record checks, employment history verifications, reference checks, and more can all be seamlessly integrated into your HR software, giving you the necessary agility in today’s job market.

To learn more, call 1-855-256-8883 or visit our website.