Saturday, March 9, 2019

Courting Women for the Modular Home Factory

Let’s assume for a minute that there are 100 modular and prefab factories across the US each with 4 unfilled production line jobs and nobody wanting them. That’s 400 jobs that need to be filled. Most of these production line positions could be filled with OJT new hires. So what is stopping people from applying for work at your factory?


Blamed on everything from Baby Boomers retiring in record numbers, to potential employees who can’t pass drug tests, to a competitive market and to even one factory enticing another factory’s employees with higher wages.

Recently I learned of a PA factory that was looking for a skilled position with specific requirements and received tons of resumes but not one that could meet the minimum qualifications required.

Almost every single one came from people that are currently on unemployment who really don’t want a job at the moment but need to show the unemployment office they have been sending out resumes. Morticians, college security guards and the recently paroled were just some of the applicants received.

Yesterday, March 8th, was Women in Industry Day across the US highlighting their achievements in industry. You would think that women would be a huge part of the production line in any factory but that isn’t the case.

Every factory has a few hard working women on their production lines but not in the numbers that could be working there.

Just to be clear, the jobs on a modular home production line is not a male only club. Women are more than capable of doing any factory job including working the “hot end” at a manufactured home factory.

So why aren’t there more women on your production lines? First, let’s take a to your local fast food restaurant. Women both young and older are working there on all three shifts if the fast food is open 24 hours. They clean, cook, wait on hundreds of people a day, take a lot of grief from both the customers and the store’s owners.

They work for close to minimum wage and are expected to be available to work at a minute’s notice or stay for another shift if someone fails to show up. A lot of the younger women barely make enough to rent or buy their own place, raise a family by themselves or take even a modest vacation.


How do you attract them to your factory where they will be guaranteed 40 hours a week at substantially more pay than a fast food plus they very rarely will ever have to work a weekend. In the busy season they will get overtime.

Add company paid health insurance, paid vacation and sick days and maybe even a bonus if the stay with your factory for 120 days. Do you think they would like to get a $1,000 bonus for bringing in new hire that stays 120 days?

You might even want to consider helping offset some child daycare costs if needed.

If these are things you could offer women to work in your factory the next question is how do you recruit them?

This is actually the easiest part of the scenario. Offer every employee that $1,000 bonus if their new hire stays 120 days. Your employees will be more creative than you ever could in bringing in women to work for better wages, better working conditions and better benefits than any fast food could offer them. Let your production line people be your recruiters. They know what it takes to work on the line and also know that if they bring in bad hires they will be screamed at by their fellow production line workers.

These new hires will still have to pass every test you require.

If you’ve been having a hard time finding the right ‘men’ to work on your production line, maybe it’s time to begin looking for the right “woman” and nobody can do a better job of finding the right person for your production line than the people that currently work there.

Allow every new hire to work with the people currently on the production line as ‘OJT’ apprentices. If they are treated as fellow workers and not by gender I guarantee they will work hard and spread the word that your factory is a great place to work.

Get started by having a short meeting with your production line people explaining the program and the bonus system. Get them to buy into your offer.

Then have an Open House one day week when these new recruits can tour your production line with their sponsor followed by an application process with HR and a very quick response as to whether they will receive an offer of employment.

Nothing ventured, not gained.

3 comments:

Carrie Hurd said...

When I was an unskilled single mom I didn't see much of a future but if I had read this article then I would have begged for the chance to work there. What I would have seen is a way to feed my kids, have health care, steady work, etc.
As one of my earliest customers told me, I love working with single moms as they are driven, organized eager to learn and improve.
Don't count out the unskilled.

Molly said...

I am a divorced 28 year old with 2 children. I never looked at production work before but I will begin looking at their help wanted ads today.

Amy Kulka-Marks said...

I would love to see more factories with on-premise day care for both men and women who are responsible for children. Watch how quickly your jobs will fill up with women that are able to be In the construction field and co-locate their child care with their “job site.”