Shawn Maher

3 Ways Tool Manufacturers Can Grow the Skilled Labor Workforce

Over the recent months, we have read a lot about how the labor market is in an unprecedented state of transition. While many jobs that were eliminated have returned, we have also seen many jobs, often those with poor pay and minimal benefits, remained unfilled. At the same time, skilled labor is seeing much of its workforce head to retirement as the Baby Boomer generation reaches their golden years. With that in mind, now is the perfect time for skilled labor fields like welding, machining, HVAC/R, construction, roofing and plumbing to take advantage of disillusioned service industry workers who wish to begin a real career with a brighter future. 

How can tool manufacturers help with the skilled labor shortage? 

Throughout these skilled labor industries, employers would like to see these jobs filled immediately. There’s no doubt that this is important since there is always important work that needs to get done. However, now is the perfect time to resort to more creative measures. Sure, finding experienced workers is ideal. But there is a great opportunity for contractors to fill the help they need, including non-skilled workers, while still maintaining the quality craftsmanship that their customers demand. 

Of course, tool manufacturers depend on these contractors, as well. Without workers, there is nobody to use their tools! So, let’s discuss three ways that these tool manufacturers could do to help grow the workforce in these industries that they support. 

Make tools easier to use 

In a recent article entitled Tools Tackle the Labor Shortage, Supply House Times provides several examples of manufacturers developing tools that have a lower barrier to entry for use by making them more intuitive for a less-skilled laborer. In this article, DEWALT Product Manager Daniel Heiney-Gonzalez explains, “This has provided an opportunity for innovation to come in and make these workers who are working more efficient.” 

Marketers can support these efforts by gaining an in-depth understanding of customers and keeping an open dialogue with sales teams, who spend so much time with customers that they gain a wealth of knowledge of their needs and pain points. This was the case when Geile/Leon helped Parker Hannifin launch a new product that reduced the time that HVAC/R contractors spent joining pipes by simplifying the process. Brazing pipe is a learned skill that can take many, many hours to master. But with ZoomLock, employees with minimal experience in the field can confidently join pipes together, and the skilled workers could do it faster than they ever could before. 

Curious as to how we did it? Then check out our case study here:

Support trade school education

Thanks to the efforts of Mike Rowe, along with many companies and individuals in a variety of industries, in promoting skilled trades as a logical alternative to a four-year college degree, trade schools are steadily gaining in popularity. This is a very promising trend for companies who wish to see a larger pool of skilled labor, but there is even more potential for growth. 

Manufacturers should support these schools and take advantage of this momentum. There are many groups that help collectivize and maximize these efforts, like SkillsUSA. In addition, they could donate tools and funds to these schools. Not only will it lead to a future with a wealth of skilled employees, it will also foster brand loyalty from day one as these future employees will enjoy hands-on instruction with your products and come to recognize them as a trusted industry standard. 

Our client, Harris Products Group, is one of those future-focused companies who supports high school trade classes. In fact, they had their efforts recognized recently in a news story. We’d highly encourage you to check out this inspirational story and see how they have brightened the future of Grayson County students who are learning brazing and soldering skill training. 

Work to diversify your industry’s workforce

The Associated General Contractors of America’s Culture of Care program launched last year and is doing great work in attracting a large pool of skilled tradespeople. With an expected 10-million-person labor shortage by 2023, according to the nonprofit Bridging America’s Gap, now is a perfect time to seize an opportunity to invest in recruiting and training people of all backgrounds. Not only will this provide an opportunity those in marginalized populations who have an immense amount of talent, but it will also create a workforce that is stronger due to its inclusive nature. 

We think another really great example can be found right here from our client, Clayco, a St. Louis- and Chicago-based commercial construction firm. You can see how we helped them to brand and promote their Clayco Rising diversity and inclusion program, breaking through barriers of income, race, sexual orientation and gender. The tagline, “Clayco Rising, People Above All Else,” is a clear indication of their dedication to leading the industry to bring positive change from top to bottom, not only internally but also in their contractors and strategic partnership. 

Actions speak louder than words

Manufacturers and the industry groups that they belong to can be the catalyst that ends the current labor shortage, but that means thinking beyond traditional methodologies and recruitment strategies. When we invite everyone to participate, we not only help those who deserve an opportunity, we help our companies by unlocking potential that could have remained untapped and by creating an inclusive company culture that is a boost to morale across the board. Opportunities don’t just appear out of thin air. Those who create them are the visionaries who rise to the top of their industry. 

Ideas require action, however, and a strategic marketing partner can help you maximize these campaigns. We have a great deal of experience and success in finding unique and inclusive solutions for employee recruitment. Let’s talk about what we can do for you. Get in touch now and let’s get started!