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Strategies to Attract and Retain Skilled Industrial Workers

A lack of skilled workers and an ill-managed system may lead to severe consequences such as:

  • Safety issues
  • Negative impact on production
  • Increase in assembly costs.
  • Degradation of Quality


In an interview, the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, urged the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) to work towards a larger vision of improving the incomes of weavers and artisans in the country. As the economy is reviving, we will see a neck-to-neck competition among manufacturing firms and export houses to get the best artisans and weavers

Here is a list of impactful strategies to attract and retain skilled workers for Export houses

1. Job Description is key

From designing authentic descriptions regarding job requirements to running effective programs to retain new industrial workers, a firm needs to take care of it all. In most cases, exporters inform the candidates about the skills required but fail to discuss the importance of their firm's culture, which is equally crucial to convey.

2. Be digital, but don’t forget traditional

Orissa has one of the richest handloom and handicraft traditions in the country, dating back to antiquity. Similarly, Rajasthan has the best Meenakari, Terracotta, and Woodworks. Running Google ads stating that you require skilled workers from Orissa and Rajasthan may not be effective because these workers will not be sitting with a laptop; some may not even have a smartphone. 

Sending on-the-ground teams, word-of-mouth, SHGs (Self-Help Groups), vernacular hard copy advertisements, and enlisting the assistance of local authorities would be some of the most effective ways to reach them.

3. Partnering with different local communities

To attract labour, exporters need to partner with different local communities and businesses which will help find highly skilled industrial workers. Small-scale manufacturers, for example, will assist in broadening the recruitment network, allowing one to maintain a broader organisational view. Further, exporters can also develop partnerships with small retail stores, to give away pamphlets or handouts.

 4. Reduce retention rates - fulfil psychological needs

Fulfilling physiological needs and bringing out motivation at the workplace can increase retention. By physiological, we mean job security, relationships between peers and supervisors, satisfactory compensation, employee motivation, leadership qualities, and working conditions.

5. Consider a training program for promising candidates

For the promising candidates, one should consider organising a short training program to provide the latest and higher-level technical knowledge, because some of them might not be aware of the latest technologies. To attract and retain skilled industrial workers keep on-the-job training programs, which will further bring workers up to speed.

Following the India-UAE Trade Pact, textile export units in Tiruppur and Noida plan to increase their headcount by up to 15% and 30%, respectively. Most jewellery exporters are of the opinion that artisans from West Bengal are likely to get more jobs as jewellery crafted by them is in huge demand in the UAE market. In February 2022, India's blue-collar and grey-collar employment markets experienced the greatest increase in over a year. The demand for blue-collar workers went up 4% from 2019 to 37% in 2020 and to a massive 175% by the end of 2021.

A recruiting strategy that concisely describes the job requirements and provides training and support throughout the employee’s career can be a good start. Ultimately, a firm that offers monetary incentives, rapid turnaround times, and flexibility has great potential to attract talented and skilled industrial workers. 

Exporters can also arm industrial designers with smart tools to help them become more efficient and achieve greater job satisfaction.

Author: Shalini Singh (Marketing Associate), Shreya Pandey