Recruitment Marketing for Manufacturers



Finding the right manufacturing candidate is tricky, to say the least. As the manufacturing field on its own thrives, finding skilled labor as more senior workers retire proves more difficult year by year. Here’s what we know:

  • The manufacturing industry is poised to create 2.4 million unfilled positions now through 2028 (Deloitte).
  • In a more recent study, 45% of manufacturing executives surveyed in 2022 reported turning down business opportunities due to a lack of workers (Deloitte). 
  • In Wisconsin, manufacturers rated “finding and attracting qualified employees” as their number one concern in 2023 (2023 Wisconsin Manufacturing Report).

It’s no question why this is top of mind for many of our clients. There is a strong business case for investing in recruitment and company culture to attract new talent. We wanted to address how the power of marketing can alter the perceptions of the manufacturing field that may deter candidates, and how tools like your website, LinkedIn, and even Facebook and Instagram can tap into the incoming generation of skilled labor. 

Manufacturing Field Perceptions 

One of the biggest challenges the manufacturing industry faces among younger generations is simply poor perceptions. Manufacturing gets unfairly labeled as boring, lacking creativity, or harmful to the environment. For women, the deterrence is that the field is overwhelmingly male-dominated. Another fear among this generation is that technology and automation will one day replace jobs.

That said, perceptions do not match the current level of technological advances, innovation, benefits, and salary levels in the industry. The message from manufacturing industries should instead focus on the ways technology can enhance work life rather than replace jobs, allowing workers a safer and more productive environment. While recruitment proves challenging, manufacturing employees have the highest average tenure among all industries, a testament to its more than a viable career path. 

Market Your Culture and Manufacturing Roles

We sometimes hear from executives in the manufacturing field that they don’t “need” marketing or an updated website. Sales meetings happen in person, not virtually, and many rely on current clients and referrals to bring in new business. Here at Top Floor, we’d of course argue the opposite, that an active marketing program can get new eyes, and new business, to your company.

More than that, though, the next generation of skilled labor is invested in their devices and is “virtual” more often than not. Basic things like mobile-friendliness, employee success stories, and highlighting culture make a tangible difference between you and the thousands of other companies looking to fill open positions. 

Send the Right Message with Your Website 

Your candidates are going to research your company before they apply – so make sure you’re sending the right message and clearly demonstrating your culture. Just like you would your customers, quickly address some of the pain points or misconceptions they may have about the manufacturing field (i.e. career growth/stability, opportunity to work with advanced technology, etc.) and emphasize what sets your company apart. 

 Here is a short checklist to follow:

  • Include real photos of employees and the workplace
  • A “meet the team” page is a great way to humanize your culture 
  • Describe your company mission and vision 
  • Share company-wide events/activities 

Most of today’s smartphones have cameras that are more than capable of capturing moments in the workplace, company events, or of your employees. Show your candidates who you are and what your team is made of! 

Leverage Digital Marketing to Fill Manufacturing Positions 

Just like a business, posting a new service or feature on your website won’t get instant eyes on it. The same goes for recruiting manufacturers – and you need to fill roles quickly! To make sure qualified individuals are sending in their resumes, they need to know that you’re hiring. You never know when there may be someone who doesn’t know they want a new job until your business pops up on their device. This is where digital marketing comes in.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram… TikTok?!?

Social media platforms matter and are not one-size-fits-all. While an employee looking for a more senior position, like Operations Manager, might be more active on LinkedIn, future candidates might be passively spending their time on places like Instagram or TikTok. This doesn’t mean you have to be active on every social media platform. Rather, decide exactly who it is you are looking to hire, and where they might be spending their time online. When running a manufacturing recruitment campaign for our clients, a general rule of thumb is that blue-collar workers are more likely to be on Facebook, whereas LinkedIn is better at attracting managers and supervisor candidates. Keep in mind that the same rules that apply to your website, apply to your company page. Make sure it looks active and places an emphasis on your culture. 

Boosted Job Posts

Sure an organic social media post about a job opening may get you a few resumes, but those followers are probably watching your website for openings anyway. What about throwing a few dollars behind it on a Facebook-boosted post? Boosted posts are an inexpensive way to target a user by their industry, employers, or even job title. If you know what your ideal candidate looks like, let Facebook help you find them. Take it a step further with a full manufacturing recruitment ad campaign.

LinkedIn Job Ads

Using LinkedIn for recruitment purposes is an obvious choice. However, you might not find your ideal blue-collar worker on LinkedIn. On the other hand, if your job opening is for someone who may be an active LinkedIn member, you have a few choices in your arsenal. Job posting ads allow you to get in front of users who fit the description of what you’re looking for. Make sure your ads are creative and allow them to show the culture of your company. This will attract not only someone to fill a position but a long-term employee who will want to grow within your company. Sponsored content or Sponsored InMail are other routes you could take to target specific industries, companies, job titles, etc. to get in front of the right candidates in a different way.

Google for Jobs

You may have already seen this on google, but if not, Google search for “manufacturing jobs Milwaukee, WI” and you will see a sample. Google has now integrated with a number of job board sites and will pull related job openings right into search results. This is a simple, free solution to get a few more eyes on your listings. A surefire way to guarantee Google is seeing your job listings is to integrate your website with Google.

The Bottom Line

Filling your open manufacturing roles with the right people is imperative to business. The opportunities to grow are out there, but you can’t achieve them without manpower. While you can build the perfect image through marketing and promotion, what’s implied is that you are upholding the values and culture you portray. That’s the best way to both recruit and retain manufacturing talent. You may even need to look first at your onboarding strategy, your culture, and your work environment and decide if any internal changes need to be made before looking at your external messaging. 

Let’s Build Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy

If you feel confident that your manufacturing company is the best place to work, we want to help you shout it from the rooftops! Let’s chat about how you can begin your recruitment marketing program for manufacturing roles. 


Leveraging Social Media for Recruitment in Manufacturing

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