Industry 4.0 may hold key to filling manufacturing skills gap
As manufacturers move toward new business models built on data, cyber physical systems and cloud computing ― a trend commonly referred to as Industry 4.0 ― they increasingly need staff with the capabilities and confidence to work alongside new technologies and thrive in a digitized workplace. Given the figures outlined above, it seems this new generation of workers is yet to emerge, a Forbes story says.
The story goes on to suggest practical steps manufacturers can (and should) take now to get ahead of the curve:
- Rebrand the industry ― there’s a clear opportunity for the industry to reposition a manufacturing career. From utilizing blockchain to reshape the supply chain to the use of 3D printing to power a new era of additive manufacturing, the skills needed by tomorrow’s workers are very different than those required today. That’s a compelling message for potential recruits, especially young people who are currently entering STEM careers at slowing rates.
- Focus on modern skills ― as big data becomes more important, workers will need strong mathematics and analytics abilities to harness it correctly. Likewise, as automated technologies take on many of the more repetitive, process-driven tasks, future workers should be encouraged to focus on softer “social intelligences” like adaptive thinking, problem solving, creativity and people management.
- Disrupt the recruitment process ― just as an accountant completes on-the-job training, manufacturing recruits should be given a chance to experience Industry 4.0 for themselves through apprenticeships and internships. As well as letting businesses identify high-performing candidates, this offers an opportunity to sell them the idea of a modern career in manufacturing early on.
- Act with purpose ― in an era of conscious consumerism, manufacturing companies should be willing to talk about their purpose. It’s what we at EY refer to as building a better working world. Communicating this purpose in the recruitment process can help attract, retain and motivate new and existing workers.
- Reinvent the reward model ― rather than basing promotion and salary decisions on tenure, manufacturers should consider building their reward model around skills. This will inspire staff to learn new capabilities and embrace fresh ways of working, thereby helping companies close the talent gap from within.
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