Plant maintenance organizations continue to face a shortage of skilled labor. Readily available technology such as mobile workforce management solutions may be the key to attracting the younger generations like Gen Z workers to skilled trades needed for maintenance and repair jobs. Modernizing day-to-day work tools not only supports the workstyles of today’s workforce but will also drive efficiencies to get more work done with your limited staffing.



What's Causing the Shortage of Skilled Industrial Maintenance Workers?


Veteran technicians are retiring, and in some industries, a majority have already taken early retirement packages. There are not enough Gen Z and Millennial trade workers to take their place. Even as industry pay continues to rise, the skilled labor shortage in the United States shows no sign of improvement. According to a Deloitte study, US manufacturing is expected to have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030.


Part of the issue is what Deloitte refers to as a perception problem. Their survey identifies three key areas contributing to industry misperceptions:

  • Limited public awareness of the manufacturing career opportunity
  • Rising competition for talent
  • Changing workforce expectations

The first two points deal with complexities that are very much outside of an organization's control. However, maintenance organizations can address changing worker expectations with the addition of technology created for mobile workforce management. The Deloitte study found that the three most important factors were: 

  • Overall well-being
  • Work flexibility
  • The types of technology used in the workplace

Those findings are echoed in a global Aruba study that found a positive correlation between the adoption of digital technologies and employee job satisfaction. The study noted, "employees who work in digital workplaces are not only more productive, but also more motivated, have higher job satisfaction, and report a better overall sense of well-being.”


For industrial and plant maintenance organizations, especially those that are digitizing processes to achieve more reliable preventative maintenance programs, mobile technology is key.



What are Mobile Workforce Solutions for Maintenance?

In asset-intensive industries, mobile solutions are a key part of a successful digital transformation. Mobile workforce management solutions, including mobile apps for EAM, replace outdated and inefficient paper-based processes. Mobile technology provides the workforce with access to the right information at the right time, enabling communication flow in real-time.


In addition, connecting workers to information and each other provides benefits throughout each step of a worker’s day. The easy-to-use mobile tools facilitate accurate data collection by giving the workforce the right tools needed to exchange information with an organization's enterprise asset management system (EAM), including SAP.


Updated Technology for an Evolving Maintenance Workforce

 Understanding key motivating factors is essential to attract younger generations to maintenance jobs. Here's how better mobile technology will help attract and retain Gen Z and Millennial workers. 

  • Provide workers with the same types of experiences they use every day. This is the digital-native generation, and they don't want a job where they’re expected to use paper manuals or fill out work orders with pen and paper. Digitizing processes across plant and industrial maintenance provides Millennials and Gen Z workers with the tools they want to use. And it lets them work in ways that are familiar.

  • Replace tedious administration tasks with user-friendly technologies to improve job satisfaction. The next generation of workers wants to be engaged in their everyday job, and they don't want to be bogged down with tasks that could easily be automated. Eliminating repetitive tasks frees workers up to do more challenging and satisfying work.

  • Reduce onboarding time and help shrink the skills gap. With the ability to access critical information at their fingertips, new members of the workforce have access to institutional knowledge at the moment they need it. By providing real-time information access, organizations will be able to mitigate the skills gap that exists between industry veterans who have stored decades' worth of knowledge in their heads, and new recruits who want to access information as simple as asking Alexa to provide the weather forecast.

  • Improve career growth and training. Deloitte's study noted that 58% of those surveyed responded that manufacturing jobs have limited career prospects. However, when asked if they would opt for a manufacturing job with customized training and a clearer pathway for career progression, eight out of 10 respondents answered yes. Mobile tools expedite training and job confidence which is a necessary addition to a comprehensive career development program. 

Sigga's suite of tools, including a mobile app for EAM and flexible planning and scheduling technology, replaces paper-based processes with intuitive tech workflows that today's workforce demands.


Learn More, download the whitepaper, Practical Advice to Attract and Retain Industrial Maintenance Talent.