4 Strategies To Help You Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap

These days, the manufacturing industry has more jobs than takers. Manufacturers are experiencing a manufacturing skills gap, in which their workforce lacks the skills, expertise or knowledge required to fill a particular role.

In fact, a 2021 study[1] predicts that 2.1 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will be unfilled by 2030.

For businesses in the manufacturing industry struggling to find workers, the important question is: how can you close the manufacturing skills gap for your company?

These four strategies can help you do just that.

4 ways to help close the manufacturing skills gap

1. Improve the reputation of manufacturing industry jobs

The manufacturing industry can suffer from a bad reputation due to a widespread misconception that manufacturing jobs are dirty, dull, and have limited growth opportunities.

An excellent example of this is the welding industry. These days, manufacturing floors in the welding industry are clean, and welders often work with high-tech industrial robots and collaborative robots (a robotic arm built to work alongside humans).

Manufacturing jobs are intellectually challenging, and at most manufacturing companies there is a clear growth path.

But how can your company work to change this reputation when trying to attract new employees to help close the manufacturing skills gap?

Here are some tactics:

  • Use the power of social media. Regularly post content on your social media that shows how your company operates. You can also post testimonials from current employees.

  • Create a video. Design a recruitment video exhibiting how your company operates, what the working environment is, and the perks of working there.

  • Host an open house. Organize open houses and take people on a tour of your manufacturing floor.

2. Upskill your existing workers

Continuous learning in the workplace is one of the most effective ways to close the manufacturing skills gap. For example, you can upskill welders so they can program welding robots or teach assembly line workers how to use a palletizing robot.

You can achieve this by:

  • Creating a skills map. Skills mapping is a visual map of the types of skills your employees need to do their job well. When making a skills map, you want to include both current skill needs and the skills they’ll need five years down the road.

  • Developing a training program. A well-designed training program can help your staff develop the skills they need to succeed both now and in the future. After you build a skills map and identify your training goals, employee training software can help you implement a training program.

  • Implementing a mentor/buddy system for new hires. Pairing new hires with their veteran counterparts during onboarding is a great way to help ensure a transfer of skills early on and continue it over time.

3. Partner with the local technical schools and community colleges

If you need new team members, the best way to get them is at the source: a technical school or community college in your area where students are developing the skills your organization needs.

If the courses directly match what your company needs, your company can offer employment opportunities for students who finish their studies and partner with the institution’s careers office/center to get the word out.

You could even go a step further by offering to help develop programs to prepare students to work for your company.

4. Scale up your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts

As with every industry, the manufacturing workforce should be diverse and inclusive. Casting your recruiting nets far and wide helps you attract competent candidates from different backgrounds.

Put this in action by making your job ads inclusive. Words matter, and exclusionary words[2] can turn certain applicants coming from a certain group from applying.

Additionally, don’t pass up candidates with non-traditional backgrounds. When reviewing resumes, remember that non-traditional education backgrounds or experience in other industries can often translate into successful team members if you give them a chance.

Additional resources to help you close the manufacturing skills gap at your business

It can be challenging to find skilled workers in the manufacturing industry, but technology can help. Explore recruiting software solutions, and check out these recruitment sourcing strategies to help expand your candidate pool.


  1. Creating Pathways for Tomorrow’s Workforce Today, Deloitte

  2. The Inclusive Language List for Job Ads, Ongig