5 Personal and Vocational Skills you Should Hire for in Manufacturing

A great opportunity for your organization to attract and keep top talent.

By Duff-Norton | Aug 07, 2019

Manufacturing affects everything we do in our day-to-day lives. Every advancement in science, technology, travel and agriculture (to name a few) has had a team of manufacturers supporting it, making it a reality. In fact manufacturing has been ahead of the technology curve for a long time now with;

All have affected our supply chains for decades while the rest of the world is only now catching up. A report by the World Economic Forum estimates that there are 10 million manufacturing jobs globally that are recruiting. They attribute this to a growing skills gap:

‘In the race to future prosperity, nothing will matter more than talent,’ says Craig Giffi, vice chairman and consumer and industrial products industry leader at Deloitte LLP. ‘The skills gap that exists today will not likely close in the near future, which means companies and countries that can attract, develop and retain the highest-skilled talent — from scientists, researchers and engineers to technicians and skilled production workers — will come out on top.’

This is a great opportunity for your organization to attract and keep top talent. So here are five skills that you should look for when hiring for your next manufacturing role:

1. Attention to detail

Manufacturing anything requires two key skills: speed and precision. Mistakes costing time and money (and sometimes lives). A focused and detail-oriented employee will contribute to a faster production output and a safer work environment.

2. Critical thinking

Troubleshooting is a big part of any manufacturing worker’s day. Being able to think on your feet and solve problems as and when they arrive is a good skill for your employees to have. On a busy production line, a supervisor can’t always oversee every decision that needs making. Having a reliable workforce make those calls is helpful and time saving.

3. Dependability

Workers need to be dependable. Manufacturing plants are vast and supervisors need their workforce to be accountable for their actions. Employing staff that turn up to work on time and are trustworthy around expensive equipment makes your supervisor’s life easier.                        

4. STEM skills

Science, technology, engineering and math skills are at the forefront of successful manufacturing hires. This interest and aptitude for technology is a powerful opportunity to ‘future proof’ your workforce.

‘One of the major reasons STEM is needed now, more than ever before, is the changing nature of the manufacturing floor,’ suggests Thomas Martin of the Nutek Corporation. ‘Modern manufacturing relies heavily on automation and programs, exchanging the repetitive tasks of the past for sophisticated processes that require a much higher skill level. This means the manufacturing worker needs advanced skills. These advanced skills allow for efficient operation and can help manufacturers improve their output and profits.’

5. A collaborative attitude

Never before has it been so necessary for your manufacturing staff to be able to work together. The fast-paced nature of a manufacturing floor means your staff need to communicate quickly and efficiently. It’s about building an attitude and culture of positive teamwork. You need a group of professionals who can work together to solve complex problems.

Our main tip to hire the right people for your manufacturing needs?Go out and start interviewing. Meet people, interview them, give them tasks and challenges to complete. This will soon show you the caliber of the applicant and whether they would be a good fit for your organization. Understanding your list of key attributes to look for before you walk into that interview room will save a lot of time and bad hires.


As a leading engineering manufacturer of reliable industrial lifting and positioning products, Duff-Norton is comprised of individuals with in-depth industry experience. Articles authored by Duff-Norton belong to a collection of blogs written by product and application experts throughout the organization.

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