The pandemic has impacted every possible aspect of life and business. By far, it is one of the biggest crises of this generation. No sector has been left unimpacted. Apart from the negative outcomes, there have been many positives as well for sectors including manufacturing.
The industry has undergone a number of changes over the past two years and some of these will continue to persist in the longer term. These include unpredictable spikes in demand, global supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and a shift to remote working, increased customer expectations around customization, emphasis on sustainability and more.
The impact? Most notably are a more localized approach with supply chain reshoring, the acceleration of technological advancements and digitalization, and an overall transformation of the workforce. Reshoring has led to a demand for larger domestic teams and a strengthening of professional networks in a business’ home base. These, in turn, have elevated the importance of digital transformation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Solutions like flexible manufacturing using automation and robotics, remote production optimization, supply chain planning tools, energy optimization are in high demand.
Leading a manufacturing business in this shift toward embracing digital solutions means relooking at the organizational structures, the workforce’s capabilities, roles, and collaborative ecosystems. This is transforming hiring trends in India.
One immediate impact is the surge in demand for digital/technology roles. Because of the accelerated pace of digital transformation for organizations, the jobs of the future are arriving much earlier than expected like IoT Solution Architect, AR/ VR Developer, Big Data Engineer etc. Companies are adopting a more agile approach to talent – candidates are being concurrently evaluated to fit across many jobs. For example a candidate with IoT technology skills can be considered for a pre-solutioning or development or delivery kind of role in an organisation which develops and provides IoT solutions.
This means the hiring ecosystem has to continue evolving as per changing business needs and heightened pace of digital transformation.
There are many transformative technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) backed techniques and other techniques predicting on-the-job success which are emerging in the space of hiring automation. They are helping reduce the roadblocks in the hiring process and equipping recruiters to handle various scenarios more efficiently, effectively, and in a more personalized manner for candidates. These technologies include:
- Auto-scoring candidates’ responses to open-ended assessments and interview questions and auto-advancing qualified applicants expediting the process for all
- Automated scheduling tools that sync with hiring teams’ calendars and enable candidates to pick among available interview times
Another positive hiring trend is an increased focus on diversity and inclusion. AI-backed tools and predictive analytics are being used to predict, measure, and remove bias in the hiring process. This becomes hugely important as one 2019 McKinsey study finds that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
One more aspect underlying these shifts is around recognition and prioritization of the candidate experience. It’s no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. In a tight employment market, companies that can keep candidates well-engaged throughout the hiring process and provide a great onboarding experience will be the ones that hire the best and most suitable candidates. Moreover the candidate experience will be important in the event that your candidates also happen to be your end-consumers. The candidate experience they carry will also influence them as an end-consumer.
Overall organizations are looking towards progressive hiring solutions that give candidates and hiring managers a seamless, efficient, and effective experience. It will become important that organizations deploy human-centered technologies or systems – one that puts human/ user needs, desires and abilities at the center of the technology.
In conclusion, I would like to share a few smart tips for HR practitioners in the manufacturing sector. It will be good to use social media and other media to talk more about exciting manufacturing jobs today and in future, open factory tours like in good old times, socialize more about future of manufacturing in schools, refresh job descriptions to include future technological skills required, diversify the employee base in manufacturing and support apprentice/ training programs