Producing new ways to close the manufacturing talent gap

The advent of digital industrial technology, dubbed Industry 4.0, has given rise to a series of new challenges for industrial manufacturers. Although tech and automation have transformed manufacturing, giving industrial companies an opportunity to harness new levels of productivity, it’s often difficult to capitalize on opportunities for profitable growth because of constant disruption. A tight labor market and a diminished supply of skilled labor makes it difficult for industrial manufacturers to find the talent and leaders they need to sustain themselves. And many firms are rightsizing their portfolio, spinning off and divesting business units, while others are engaged in strategic merger and acquisition activity. Further threats destabilizing the market include global trade disputes, tariffs and political instability.

For manufacturers, identifying, attracting and retaining top-level talent capable of leading through changes like these is a competitive advantage. They need specialized, learning-agile leaders capable of driving transformation in a lean environment to create new value for customers and stakeholders. These leaders must possess the expertise and strategic focus to extract growth from mature markets, optimize global supply chains, and enhance operational productivity—all while overseeing corporate culture and managing considerable risk.

As the world’s largest industrial search firm, Korn Ferry focuses on helping industrial manufacturers solve these pressing challenges. Our manufacturing consultants serve businesses around the globe in every sector, from automation and control systems to building products and materials, capital equipment and machinery, chemicals, mechanical and electrical components, mobile equipment and machinery, and paper and packaging. We advise our clients on all aspects of the talent lifecycle, from recruitment to development to succession planning. 

What we do

Our industrial manufacturing consultants can help you attract, develop and retain best-in-class talent for your organization. 

Adjusting to constant disruptions in the market requires an agile pipeline of leadership talent prepared to weather the storm. We work with you to assess the full spectrum of your talent-related needs.

Where we can help

Your results are what matters. We partner with you to continually evolve and optimize to reflect the changing needs of your business. We have helped our industrial manufacturing clients address challenges like these.

Finding new sources of talent

The manufacturing labor market is as tight as it’s ever been. Though the supply of skilled labor remains limited, there’s an increasing demand for skilled labor, as the manufacturing sector is experiencing a renaissance and as digitization takes hold. This demand is only going to increase, as an aging manufacturing workforce starts to plan for retirement and as organizations start losing a treasure trove of specialized skills and institutional knowledge. 

We help industrial manufacturers find new ways to penetrate the talent market and recruit skilled workers. Given our breadth, we help our clients identify qualified candidates with relevant experience from other industries. We show businesses how to create learning and development programs that close skill gaps for current employees. And we drive interest in manufacturing careers by helping clients invest in career-focused programs for students in high schools, trade schools and colleges. 

Navigating the digital transformation

Across the industrial supply chain, technology is disrupting the way that manufacturers do business. As industrial companies acquire new digital capabilities, they need more than just the latest technology: they also need talent capable of implementing that technology and leading the transformation.

We have helped industrial employers create sustainable digital transformation strategies that harness the power of internal and external talent. We work with our clients to build a brand around their digital transformation and show them how they can use technology to address real-world problems. We teach them how to upskill and reskill their workforce, so they have employees who combine their existing manufacturing and engineering knowledge with cutting-edge digital expertise. And we help industrial firms develop digital leaders who are eager to set an enterprise-wide, sustainable digital strategy.

Improving diversity and inclusion

We help industrial manufacturers create a positive, engaging and inclusive business environment for all employees. We examine your hiring, development, compensation and promotion practices to ensure that opportunities are equally available to everyone. We use our proprietary assessments and other research-validated tools to help you identify and develop high-potential talent. And we work with you to construct clearly defined career tracks that give up-and-coming talent the experience that positions them for leadership roles. In short, we help you build a transformational, inclusive talent strategy that will accelerate your company’s performance.

Building a more engaging employee experience

Skilled candidates often view jobs in manufacturing as less attractive than those in other market sectors. To woo candidates from other industries, and to retain them once hired, industrial manufacturers must focus on creating a positive, supportive and motivating employee experience.

We have worked with leading manufacturers to devise a career architecture that inspires dedication and performance. We create assessments that evaluate employees’ potential and help them discover opportunities to upgrade their skills and focus on their self-development. Additionally, we coach leaders to focus on nurturing high-potential talent through initiatives that improve learning and engagement.

Let us be part of your success story. Contact us and see how we can help you produce a workforce that’s ready for what’s next.

Let us be part of your success story

Contact us and see how our industry expertise can help you achieve your business goals.