It’s a truth that both economists and everyday Americans know well: the U.S. manufacturing sector has undergone significant changes in recent years.
Digitalization and automation have created a boon in productivity, altering the employment outlook for manufacturing workers, and meanwhile, consumer demand for inexpensive goods delivered in a short period of time is unprecedented.
It’s frequently said that U.S. manufacturing is a disappearing sector, with fewer opportunities for work. Yet while manufacturing now makes up a smaller percentage of the overall economy than it once did, as of December 2018, the U.S. had as many people working in the manufacturing sector as it did in 1949. It’s within this complicated and often politicized environment that leaders in the manufacturing sector must make decisions about how to attract, retain and satisfy the nearly 12 million American workers in manufacturing positions today.
Maintaining an engaged manufacturing workforce has unique challenges that require different approaches than what might be successful in the professional or service sectors. For one, retention is a significant concern: two in five companies in this sector say their annual turnover rate is 20% or higher. Wages in U.S. manufacturing have sunk to the bottom half of all jobs, which is a shift from previous decades. As the conditions that characterize this type of work change, the solutions that employers offer must evolve to remain relevant.
How can conscientious leadership face these challenges head on? One critical component is highlighting employee benefits through a total rewards solution. In the 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report, 55% of employees reported that they’d take a job with lower compensation if it included a more robust benefits package. In manufacturing, where workers have specific shift times and break periods, the ability to log on to a laptop to check their benefits is limited. A total reward solution closes this gap by providing information on compensation and benefits through a simple smartphone app at any time of day or night.
Here’s what to consider as you investigate the total rewards solution that will have the biggest impact on your manufacturing workers:
Manufacturing employees deserve the highest standard of transparency and flexibility in their compensation. A total rewards solution not only informs these employees of their total compensation package—it helps demonstrate your commitment to their work in an ever-changing economy.