Navigating Modern Workforce Development Trends in Manufacturing

This article appeared in 2024 MMA Operations Conference event program. Learn more about MMA events.

In the dynamic landscape of the manufacturing industry, workforce development remains a cornerstone for sustainable growth and competitiveness. As technology advances and global markets evolve, companies are constantly adapting to meet the demands of the modern era.

One of the most prominent trends in workforce development is the emphasis on hiring speed. With the rapid pace of innovation and production cycles, manufacturers are under pressure to fill critical roles swiftly to avoid disruptions in operations. Traditional hiring processes, which could often take weeks or even months, are being streamlined to accelerate the recruitment timeline. Today, manufacturers can leverage technology such as applicant tracking systems and AI-driven screening tools to identify qualified candidates efficiently. This trend not only ensures that positions are filled promptly but also enhances the agility and responsiveness of manufacturing teams.

Another significant shift is the transition from in-person to virtual interviews. The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed this transformation, prompting companies to embrace remote work and virtual communication technologies. While remote interviews were initially adopted out of necessity, many manufacturers have recognized the benefits they offer beyond the pandemic era.

“Virtual interviews eliminate geographical constraints, allowing employers to access a broader pool of talent without the limitations of location,” says Marcy Brajkovic, President of Chatfield Global LLC.

Moreover, virtual interviews offer convenience and flexibility for both candidates and hiring managers, reducing the logistical complexities associated with traditional face-to-face interviews. As a result, virtual interviews have become an integral component of modern hiring practices in the manufacturing sector.

Pay transparency is also gaining traction as a critical component of workforce development strategies. For years, employers have conducted wage studies to ensure that their compensation packages remain competitive. But this only solves half the problem.

“Wage studies remain critical but taking it one step further and ensuring new employees are hired at the market rate, while also treating current employees equitably, is requiring companies to rethink recruitment and retention strategies,” says Brajkovic.

As equitable pay practices become more visible in fostering employee satisfaction, retention and productivity, communicating pay ranges to prospective employees is vital in today’s job market. Many candidates simply are not applying to job postings that lack salary information. That, coupled with the fact that more and more states are making pay transparency a law, mandates a shift in philosophy. By hosting an environment of openness and fairness, manufacturers can attract top talent, mitigate turnover, and cultivate a culture of trust and engagement within their workforce.

In conclusion, modern workforce development in the manufacturing industry is marked by a series of transformative trends aimed at enhancing efficiency, flexibility, equity and employee fulfillment. From expedited hiring processes to virtual interviews and transparent pay practices, companies are embracing innovative approaches to meet the evolving needs of the workforce. By staying ahead of these trends and adapting their practices accordingly, manufacturers can position themselves for success in an increasingly competitive and dynamic marketplace.

About the Author

Jody ContrerasJody Contreras is the Director of Client Services for Chatfield Global LLC. She may be reached at 847-418-2428 or

MMA LogoChatfield Global LLC is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since April 2021. Visit online:

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