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How Manufacturers Can Retain Employees

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With manufacturers facing a skills gap that could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, retaining qualified and effective employees is critical. But how do manufacturing leaders keep great employees on staff? The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research and the American Psychological Association have some answers, collected in their recently published Manufacturing Engagement and Retention Study.

Why people stay: According to the study, the main reasons that employees remain at a company are enjoyment of the work (83%) and stability/job security (79%). Other contributors to satisfaction include the family friendliness of the employer and the way the job fits into their lifestyles outside of work.

  • The next generation, however, has slightly different motives: “Although fewer survey respondents overall (42%) identified training and career opportunities as reasons for staying, around two-thirds of those under age 25 said these were motivating factors in their decision to remain with their current employer (69% and 65%, respectively).”

Feeling good: Employees who felt valued by their companies had significant more motivation and job satisfaction.

  • Nearly all workers who said they felt valued by their employers (97%) described themselves as highly motivated and satisfied with their jobs. Nearly as many (96%) would recommend their company to others as a good place to work.
  • Meanwhile, among employees who did not feel valued by their employers, those numbers dropped to 45% and 25%, respectively.

Fair treatment: Workers who felt that their employers treated them fairly were also less likely to be stressed out on a typical workday (at only 16%). But among workers who said they were treated unfairly, 68% felt stressed on a regular basis.

  • Those who felt that they were treated fairly were also much less likely to say they intended to look for a new job within the next year—at just 2% versus 19% among those who felt they were treated unfairly.

Pandemic effects: The MI and APA conducted this study during the COVID-19 pandemic, which notably did not affect employees’ responses to a great degree. In fact, many felt more positive about their employers.

  • A majority of employees (58%) said the pandemic and their company’s response to it had not changed their view, and more than one-third (37%) had a more positive view of the company, compared to just 5% who viewed their employer more negatively.

 Find out more: Learn more about what motivates people to stay by reading the full study here.

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