In Ireland, as is the case in most of the European Union, manufacturing businesses have seen some significant problems with staff recruitment and retention going back over the course of the last ten years or so. This is not something that you can necessarily put down to the macroeconomic conditions that the country faces with so much more manufacturing taking place in the Far East nowadays because even very established manufacturing firms have struggled to attract the talented and skilled people they need. For some, this has been more of a generational issue with younger people who were born from the mid-1990s onwards not necessarily seeing a career in manufacturing as something they’d like to pursue.
Importantly, this problem seems to affect every manufacturing firm in the EU to some extent. Even very high-tech manufacturing companies dealing with electronics and appliances have struggled to keep pace with businesses in sectors like information technology and finance. Why? Perhaps this comes down to the rather old-fashioned idea that manufacturing businesses only run heavy-duty factories or that they necessarily involve shift patterns which result in unsocial hours needing to be worked here and there. Of course, it really doesn’t matter that this is not the reality for most Irish manufacturing firms today. What it really boils down to is the current image of the manufacturing sector in Europe rather than a true representation of the state of affairs.
As such, manufacturers in Ireland have to do something positive to alter the perceptions that have led large swathes of the so-called generation Z of potential new recruits to look at other career paths. There are many ways that this can be achieved, of course, but one of the most striking relates to the uptake of cloud-based technologies in the sector nowadays. To put it simply, the more manufacturing firms get on board with the cloud revolution in commerce, the more they are likely to strike the modern and forward-thinking image that younger recruits are looking for among employers. So, how are manufacturing businesses using cloud-based services to improve their image, working patterns and operational efficiency?
To begin with, manufacturing firms may have been late to the party with cloud technologies – generally speaking – but this is definitely no longer the case. In Europe, uptake of cloud systems among manufacturers has all but doubled in the last couple of years and the flexibility they offer – especially in terms of working practices – has certainly helped many to overcome complex operational problems that the pandemic brought about. Having got behind this sort of technology, manufacturing businesses are now among the most likely of all sectors to invest in it further. One of the ways that this has been most noted is with recruitment. Essentially, by using cloud services to improve day-to-day efficiency, the money saved has been funnelled into better recruitment practices. With more resources at their disposal, so HR departments have been able to find better candidates and compete to attract them. Even better, the demonstrable use of cloud technologies by manufacturers has often been a key factor in some of the best candidates accepting job offers in the industry.