Beyond Recruitment: Agile Workforce Planning for Additive Manufacturing

The skills gap is more than a recruitment problem. Long-term agile workforce planning will be the key to filling needs, says Deloitte.


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The “skills gap” is an industry-wide problem, but poses a particular challenge to companies seeking to build an additive manufacturing workforce. The problem is magnified in the AM space, with manufacturers who want to attract and retain AM specialists facing fierce competition for a relatively small pool of talent. Coupled with this issue is the need for AM specialists to keep up with constantly evolving AM technologies, materials and best practices.

In such an environment, the skills gap is about more than bringing in new recruits. It’s also about retaining existing workers, keeping them up-to-date with the skills they need to do their jobs, and capturing institutional knowledge gained over time. In additive manufacturing especially, manufacturers must make an effort to retain existing employees and provide ongoing training to keep pace.

According to a paper published by the Deloitte University Press, companies that hope to build and maintain an additive manufacturing workforce need to adopt an agile workforce planning strategy over the long term. Such a holistic approach must be iterative and collaborative, with continued communication between human resources staff and the managers, engineers and others familiar with the organization’s AM challenges and workforce needs. Several tactics that can be employed in such a strategy include:

  • Strategic outreach to vocational schools and universities offering relevant AM training, to attract students;
  • Leveraging AM’s collaborative and creative aspects to appeal to students and professionals, especially millennials;
  • Targeted training to grow the skills of existing employees; and
  • “Re-recruiting” staff by empowering them to bring ideas, creativity and curiosity into their work.

Access the full report for more information on the additive manufacturing talent gap and agile workforce development.