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How to prepare for manufacturing workforce 4.0

With a myriad of technological improvements in manufacturing process automation, the future of this industry seems exciting. However, manufacturing workforce 4.0 is facing a lot of challenges. Right now, the industry is losing millions of employees to retirement. The ageing workforce is leaving faster than younger people can be hired to replace them.

According to Deloitte, the manufacturing sector could have a shortage of 2.1 million skilled jobs by 2030.

But companies all over the country have started to feel the impact of this issue years before. This has brought the need for manufacturing executives to give a lot of time and importance to recruitment strategies.

When asked, 38% of decision-making officials reported that attracting new workers is their top priority in 2022. This skills gap is jeopardizing the expected growth expected by the implementation of devices that are dramatically changing efficiency rates in production and management.

Other factors impacting the skills shortage are the misconceptions of the younger generations to build a future career in manufacturing. The stiff competition between firms is also something to be concerned about, as all the companies are upgrading their machinery at similar time frames.

In the UK The manufacturing industry’s skills crisis is well known, with 63% of UK organizations currently experiencing a skills shortage. Several surveys show an estimated 80% of firms struggling to recruit the talent they need. Almost 68% of employers stated that they were unable to find candidates who were suitable for empty roles, and the hunting required a lot more time than usual. With the continuous changes that the industry is facing, it will be mandatory for the human force to keep up. Organizational strategies globally are testing new ways of preparing for the future landscape of the manufacturing workforce in Industry 4.0.

Youngsters for manufacturing workforce 4.0

Generation Z isn’t employed at the same rate as other age groups, opening up the opportunity to recruit and train them for the company’s needs. Their familiarity with technology makes them perfect replacements for the talent-draining crisis.


Firms are creating recruiting programs to attract students from area high schools. The programs span usually more than one year, and selected apprentices get paid to attend classes at a local community college. They also receive training at the sponsoring companies’ facilities. After completing the program, the students earn a certificate and an associate’s degree. More importantly, they are guaranteed jobs and a clear career path.

According to studies, 36% of companies employ apprentices, stating significant improvements after hiring them. These programs are a great idea both for the industry to bridge the talent gap and persuade students to embark on a career in manufacturing that may be as equally rewarding as a college degree. Companies also practice bringing teens inside factories and introducing them through each department. They are exposed to potential career choices that help them envision their future in a manufacturing company.

Workers and Automation

New career opportunities are emerging because of smart factories taking their final shape more and more. The need for supervisors, analysts, engineers, and other technology-born roles will undoubtedly grow. Manufacturing workforce training devices are assisting employees self-guide their way through new processes, with the help of automated instructions for every task. Industries are spending more than £1.1 billion in the UK for training up staff with a new skill set.

Modular learning

One thing workers unanimously want from their employers is flexibility and reshaped working timetables. But how can firms achieve this when they need their existing workers more than ever? Modular learning is helping with that. This learning experience allows workers to train according to their availability. Companies are offering and delivering modular learning products as part of apprenticeships, qualifications and individual upskilling short courses.


Retraining is a particularly important move for preparing for workforce 4.0. Employers must cross-train workers, so they can function across multiple skills and lines. Cross-training creates skill fluency and versatility, making it easier to prevent bottlenecks from disrupting the process. Cross-trained employees can rotate to new tasks at regular intervals and are great replacements for workers who are close to retirement or are taking a temporary leave.

A culture of learning

Over the last decade, the Learning Development discipline has become a growth engine for career trajectories. HR pros state that right now, their biggest challenge is getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams. They know that the key to driving higher learner engagement and creating a culture of learning is transforming managers into learning front runners. Therefore, business seniors are boosting L&D budgets. According to the Linkedin Learning 2020 Report about workplace climate, more than half (53%) of organizations globally spent more on training and development than last year. Seven in 10 believe that training is a more sustainable approach to addressing skill shortages and 65% say that work-based training delivers better results and ignites more engagement than other types of training.

Soft skills

Strong leadership, creativity, and communication skills are in demand more than ever. The most lacking skills at the moment are: Managerial skills IT Leadership People taking care of job assignments in manufacturing companies, need to apply these different skills to the generations that are best suited for them. According to statistics, millennials and Gen X are more skilful in management and leadership roles. At the same time, Gen Z is better at creative and engineering positions because of their fresh mindset and digital fluency. On the other hand, baby boomers show great skills in leadership, management and their impeccable work ethic, which makes them great candidates for inducting mentoring programs.


Many companies are expanding their talent pools by targeting students, women and the long-term unemployed. In the UK, the manufacturing industry has become the biggest spender in terms of increasing salaries, paying temporary staff and recruiters, and training those hired at a lower level than intended in 2019. The sector is currently facing the largest shortage of skilled workers since 1989. However, businesses are stopping at nothing to find the right people for manufacturing workforce 4.0, stimulating permanent and healthy changes in company strategies.

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