2020 Report outlines 3 key ways for Australian manufacturers to succeed

The latest industry research report from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) has revealed that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 65 percent of Australians regarded manufacturing as important or very important. Yet, key challenges are holding back the industry from growth opportunities.

When COVID struck, many companies within the manufacturing industry responded at record speed, pivoting their product offerings to produce everything from hand sanitiser to PPE. However, for some, the impact of the pandemic served to reinforce many of the “pain points” and challenges that were initially holding them back from further growth and expansion.

What the report highlights is that employers can address several of these pain points through strategic changes to the hiring process and approach to the manufacturing workforce. By adopting these steps, the AMGC says manufacturers can become smarter operators, more advanced, resilient, competitive, and globally impactful.

Hiring the right people

No matter what industry you work in, hiring the right people is crucial for long-term success. However, many of the manufacturers AMGC consulted reported difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled workers in the manufacturing sector. This rings true, with the ABS revealing that manufacturing suffers from one of the highest skills shortages in the country at 17 percent, and just 3 percent of students considered a career in manufacturing.

According to the report, much of this has to do with the past perception of the manufacturing industry, however these are starting to shift as technological advancements are being more readily taken up. In fact, two-thirds of the public recognise that manufacturing is evolving and will become more innovative within the next few years.

There are several ways that employees can begin to attract new talent. In a survey of students and the general public, it was found that job security, the availability of support and mentoring, and opportunities for flexibility and variety were all key attractors to jobs. Employers should consider emphasising these within their job adverts, and on their social media and website content. Furthermore, requesting assistance from a third-party recruiter that specialises in the manufacturing sector can be advantageous, as they will have a strong network of employees who have already been screened and assessed and skilled and competent.

Build your workforce culture

Building workforce culture was also identified as one of the main challenges manufacturers experience. But building a strong company culture not only attracts skilled employees, but also retains this talent. In fact, a study revealed that employees who fit well with their organisation, co-workers, and supervisor had greater job satisfaction, were more likely to remain with their organisation, and showed superior job performance.

To strengthen company culture moving forward, encourage an innovative and collaborative environment within your current workforce. This has been linked to positive outcomes, including greater employee engagement, more knowledge-sharing and better company performance. Company culture can also be strengthened through decisions made at the hiring level. By hiring an individual who, from the outset, possesses attitudes, values, and beliefs that are in line with those of a company, will mean employees are more likely to obtain engaged and motivated employees who will work for the ongoing growth of an organisation.

Focus on leadership

Good leadership is at the core of any successful organisation, and includes everyone from team leaders through to senior managers and directors. Unfortunately, leadership is indeed one area where Australian manufacturing falls behind its international counterparts. According to the London School of Economics, World Management Survey, when compared with companies with similar GDP, Australian manufacturers ranked below the US, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Great Britain, and France.

Leaders are crucial in encouraging employee engagement and commitment to their company and unlocking higher productivity, as well as better all-round organisational performance. This makes it absolutely vital to ensure organisations are hiring the right people for these important leadership roles. Fail to do so, and you could be missing out on significant growth opportunities.

If you need help sourcing and onboarding the right talent for your business, partner with a consultancy that specialises in the manufacturing industry and contact Baytech today.