Winning the Race for Advanced Manufacturing Talent

By Carrie Calamel, Regional Sales Manager

As advanced manufacturing has played a critical role in the economic vitality of our nation, talent acquisition strategies are top-of-mind for organizations when cultivating success and staying ahead of their competition. Many companies within this space are racing to transition to more advanced automation and energy-efficient technologies while incorporating sophisticated skillsets into each job description. In addition to the growing demand for talent, about 25% of today’s workforce is aged 55 or older. This puts additional pressure on companies to prioritize succession planning by finding premier talent with capable backgrounds and experience.

In recent years, our team at Acara Solutions has witnessed a tremendous increase in contract labor and direct placement services within the advanced manufacturing sector. Major players in the advanced manufacturing space have emphasized the development of their full-time and contingent staffing pipelines. Companies realize that without a multi-layered approach to candidate recruitment, attracting top talent will prove to be a major concern—especially in the areas of nanotechnology, digital electronics design, and microchip fabrication.

Advanced manufacturing companies that remain “ahead of the curve” typically deploy a five-pronged approach to their talent acquisition strategy. To help augment their internal talent acquisition capabilities, our customers have incorporated more strategic alliances with agency partners and other talent management tools. These connections have enabled the creation of talent pipelines and onboarding of contingent labor teams that allow for greater scalability, flexibility, and workplace productivity—all while reducing overhead costs. Leaders in the advanced manufacturing industry have prioritized meaningful relationships with two- and four-year technical schools and developed collaborative community outreach programs. Companies have also turned their attention to technical skill development and certification programs to enhance the skillsets of their existing employees through formalized training plans.

Attracting talent in the most highly demanded professional roles within the field requires a combination of compelling compensation offerings as well as culture fit and commitment to employee development. The following compensation data depicts national averages for the more highly demanded professional roles in advanced manufacturing:

PositionNational Average
Additive Manufacturing Engineer$85,024
Automation Engineer$114,720
CAD Drafter/Technician$54,096
Control System Design/Troubleshooting Engineer$90,016
Data Scientist/Big Data Analyst$132,576
Electrical Design Engineer$98,784
Instrumentation Engineer$97,312
Mechanical Design Engineer$90,016
Quality Engineer$89,440
Robotics Engineer$104,992
Robotics Technician$62,416
Software Engineer$109,024

In addition to our access to competitive compensation analysis, our recruiters will prepare a “pitch” to compel interest in this talent pool. As an organization, you must be prepared to tell a quick story—one that quickly engages candidates’ interest. Many employees within the advanced manufacturing industry are highly technical and data-driven. It will be important to convey that your tech stack and culture are far superior to what they are currently working with.

Be ready to share compelling reasons that explain how your innovative product is disrupting the industry. Then, be prepared to discuss topics such as your purpose, culture, growth projections, and advancement opportunities. Employees want to have a voice and feel like their opinions matter—how will you ensure that your organization will achieve this goal?

For more insightful workforce tools, check out this link to an Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model created by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and leading advanced manufacturing companies. This helpful building block will present the knowledge and skills required in today’s advanced manufacturing workforce that can be used when creating new job descriptions and vetting industry talent.

If you need help mapping out your recruitment strategy or are looking to align a search partner, reach out to Carrie Calamel at 716.630.2950 or calamelc@acarasolutions.com.

Good luck—and happy hiring!

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