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Global Evolutions

Hiring and Training Skilled Employees

Last week, the Davos World Economic Forum brought top economists and thinkers together to discuss the world's finances and future. While many of the topics could apply to the supplement industry, such as Chinas Growth Context, The Natural Resource Context and Pioneering Sustainable Growth, the session that caught my interest the most was Advanced Manufacturing .

In this discussion, India's Commerce Minister, Ohio's Governor, a Swiss economics professor and businessmen from Germany and France discussed issues facing all types of manufacturing. They all agreed that technology is the major force forming how companies create goods.

Technology has its favorable qualities; innovation has created better, less expensive goods that allows more people to achieve a better quality of life. But technology has two sides. This same innovation can pose hurdles for companies and the economy as a whole.

Technology moves so fast that companies can find it difficult to fill the job openings they have. Newer, more efficient manufacturing practices mean fewer workers are needed to run machines, leaving many former operators out of work. But these same new practices mean more educated, high-skill jobs need to be filled. However, because these jobs are created so fast, it can be difficult to find people with the required years of training necessary to perform them.

The government officials on the panel recommended manufacturers tell institutions of higher learning what kinds of job they need filled, and then universities and vocational schools can then educate their students to meet those needs. However, because technology moves so fast, companies may not know what kind of worker they will need in five years.

The supplement industry has seen a similar shift as the need to follow GMPs (good manufacturing practices) became even more necessary. Quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) reps are is higher demand than 10 years ago. The need for proven efficacy is also more important with consumers and regulators demanding substantiation for claims; therefore, R&D professionals are also needed at an increased rate.

A look at the jobs listed on the SupplySide Group on LinkedIn, shows these higher skilled jobs are in open. A few of the jobs currently available include manufacturing engineer manager, R&D tech product developer and  quality manager among other skilled jobs.

Facility machine operators are still an important part of the manufacturing process, but it seems the shift to higher skilled jobs is on the rise. Supplement brand owners can help build their workforce by offering incentives to employees who seek higher education that will help on the job. They can also reach out to government officials to let them know what kinds of jobs they need filled, as the panel suggested.

What else can brand owners do to make sure employees have the required skills? What does your company do? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section, or via an email.

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