Future of green manufacturing: Building a more inclusive workforce

Manufacturers and automakers have the opportunity to completely transform their workforce.

5 minutes

Young engineer working with machine in a factory.

As the manufacturing industry evolves, so does the workforce needed to sustain it. With the rise of green technologies and sustainable practices, more inclusive hiring practices are needed to fill positions with qualified candidates. By cultivating a diverse and inclusive manufacturing workforce, businesses can better meet the needs of a growing green manufacturing industry and compete in the global market. Learn about the latest manufacturing sustainability trends and find out how employers can stay competitive in a green economy.

The upcoming green manufacturing sector

While green manufacturing and technology have been on the rise for some time, the sector will likely see significant growth thanks to a series of government measures. The Inflation Reduction Act promises $369 billion for initiatives like manufacturing clean energy products, reducing emissions, and climate justice. Reports show that this could lead to 1.5 million new jobs by 2030, with over 300 unique occupations being created by an expanding clean energy sector.

California recently approved plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. These reforms are set to impact the US auto manufacturing industry on a scale not seen before, as California is currently the country’s biggest vehicle market. This will create even more demand for clean energy, electric vehicles, and the manufacture of green products – ultimately driving the need for more manufacturing professionals nationwide.

New green manufacturing jobs

A growing clean energy economy will accelerate the need for specialized profiles in niche sectors. Clean energy production will require electricians, wind turbine service technicians, and telecommunications line installers and repairers. The environmental management sector will create the need for refuse and recyclable material collectors, plant and system operators, and environmental engineering technicians. For energy efficiency companies, roofers, sheet metal workers, and solar installers will be essential.

Employees in green energy industries currently earn higher and more equitable wages compared to other sectors. Hourly wages top nationwide averages by up to 19%, and entry-level workers can earn $5 to $10 more per hour than in other sectors.

A more diverse workforce in green manufacturing

Clean energy and manufacturing jobs have the potential to employ candidates from different backgrounds. Ensuring that green jobs are attractive to a wide range of workers and communities means investing in diversity programs as the sector grows.

This sentiment is backed by industry leaders as well as several areas of government. In May, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $3.6 million to a long list of organizations in the green energy space to support innovation in communities that are typically overlooked when it comes to clean technology funding. The DEO looks to help develop upcoming small clean technology businesses, activate the green jobs market, and promote equity and diversity.

Diversity is key to filling jobs as the green manufacturing sector emerges, but it could lead to higher profits in a competitive industry, too. Research shows that companies that outperform their competitors in gender, racial, and ethnic diversity are also more likely to report above-average returns.

What employers can do

Actively improving your company’s recruitment and retention efforts should be a priority if you’re serious about being competitive in green manufacturing. Creating inclusive job vacancies, hiring from a broad talent pool, and removing bias from the recruitment process are great places to start. Diversity training is another powerful tool in employee management. This is reflected by 63% of manufacturers linking DEI initiatives to their success in hiring, retaining, and developing talent.

Upskilling and reskilling should be central pillars of your talent strategy. Developing existing employees helps fill talent gaps with experienced and loyal employees, while it also shows your workforce that you’re serious about their career. This drastically improves your employer brand and retention rates, benefitting your overall recruitment efforts massively. With workers across different industries quitting at higher rates, you should aim to keep manufacturing workers as engaged as possible. Employee feedback surveys, mentorship programs, and financial bonuses are the best ways to keep workers engaged for now.

If you’re still unsure how to grow your business and come out on top of a new green manufacturing sector, Adecco can help. Our team of seasoned workforce experts has a strong track record of optimizing how manufacturing companies work. We know exactly how to tackle issues like talent shortages, employee retention, skills gaps, and more. Contact the Adecco team today to find out how we can help you.