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Often viewed as one of the fastest-growing sectors, Indian manufacturing has lately become a massive contributor to the country’s economic development. The government has implemented numerous initiatives in the sector, and it is set to generate plenty of employment opportunities.

This is probably why this sector is today registering a high demand for skilled individuals across various industries such as automobiles, food and beverages, electronics and textiles. There is a promise of attractive compensation packages.

However, just like every other industry, it’s important for individuals to first know the in-demand roles, skills, hiring trends, freelance opportunities, and other details in order to build a successful career and thrive in this sector.

What are some of the in-demand roles in manufacturing?

Elaborating on the roles that are in high demand for early career professionals, Kanupriya Verma, Chief Manager-HR, Addverb, a robotics company, says machine operators play an important part in the manufacturing industry by running and maintaining various types of machinery and equipment. They guarantee that production runs smoothly.

Next, as factories shift to digital infrastructure, application developers are witnessing a lot of demand from a rapidly expanding market. With the integration of human-robot collaboration, the role of industrial mechanics has become crucial. Demand for this position has increased by around 13% in the last year alone, indicating a scarcity of trained people to maintain machinery running properly, she points out.Gaurav Sharma, Chief People Officer, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, says, manufacturing offers various types of roles.

“In our thriving manufacturing industry, roles of interest for early career professionals are available across the value chain. Upstream roles available are connected to planning, production, quality or manufacturing processes. Downstream roles are equally in demand in supply chain, logistics, distribution, marketing and selling to customers,” he says.

Skills that individuals must acquire to excel in this sector

For individuals eyeing a successful career in the manufacturing sector, Verma suggests building a combination of technical and soft abilities. While the knowledge of automation and robotics is critical for enhancing efficiency and production, the capacity to analyse and understand data from sensors and machines helps in process optimisation and decision-making. Similarly, an understanding of CAD and CAM software and technical troubleshooting skills are important for ensuring smooth production.

Coming to soft skills, she lists communication, adaptability and flexibility, problem-solving and critical thinking, and teamwork and collaboration as essentials for generating industrial solutions and facilitating manufacturing processes.

In terms of skill requirements, Sharma says it’s important to develop a diverse mix of technical, transversal and soft skills. Besides, given the recent technological advancements, building proficiency in industrial automation systems, AI modelling and deep functional expertise is an advantage. In terms of soft skills, he finds problem-solving, collaboration and effective communication as crucial for success. “Transversal skills like coaching, analytics & business acumen are key hip-pocket skills for all professionals to learn & build proficiency on during the current IR 5.0 (industrial revolution 5.0),” he adds.

Campuses as hotspots for talent acquisition

College campuses have indeed become focal points for talent acquisition across various industries, including manufacturing, says Verma. Advancements in technology; the resurgence of domestic manufacturing; and the urgency to navigate the complexities of modern production processes are some of the key factors driving demand for highly skilled individuals in the manufacturing industry.

In terms of talent acquisition, she says that the manufacturing sector is increasingly recognising the value of recruiting and retaining skilled individuals. Hence, companies are offering attractive pay structures, benefits and learning allowances to attract talent and remain competitive in the talent war.

“College campuses are promising grounds for testing ideas and running experiments with students supporting market research & analytics. We as HCCB have run ‘Disrupt’ sessions on campuses to test students in a hackathon-like simulation on real problems that we are trying to solve which creates a realistic project for students to participate in,” says Sharma.

Pay expectations in the sector

Global professional services firm AON, during the recent release of its 30th Annual Salary Increase and Turnover Study 2023-2024, projected that the manufacturing sector could lead the hike with 10.1%. This, too, shows the sector’s growth potential.

Coming to the pay structure for entry level professionals in the manufacturing sector, Verma clarifies that it heavily depends on factors such as location, industry sub-sector and the specific skills required for the role. Nonetheless, manufacturing companies offer competitive compensation packages, often including benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans and opportunities for advancement. Besides, several employers provide learning allowances to support continuous skill development and education for their employees, in her opinion.

HCCB offers several learning opportunities to its associates, and its early career programmes provide a strong launch pad for professionals, says Sharma. In the FMCG space, the company’s early career positions ensure competitive pay structures, he says. As careers grow, the salaries correspond to the skills and contributions made by the talents, he says.

Freelance opportunities in the manufacturing sector

The trend of freelancing and temporary hiring is increasing at an exponential rate across many industries, and the manufacturing industry is no different.

Verma of Addverb says there is an increasing desire for freelancing or contractual options in specific roles. Consulting engineer, quality assurance inspector, quality control inspector, technical writer, documentation specialist, CAD & CAM designers for product development, prototyping, and manufacturing processes, and supply chain-logistics consultants are the roles accessible for freelancing work in the manufacturing sector, adds Verma.

“With the rise of freelancing trends, the manufacturing sector is beginning to embrace the trend. However, project-based employment is more prevalent. Trends in freelance opportunities are seen in areas such as project management, technical consulting and specialised engineering services, catering to the sector’s evolving needs. The gig economy is an area of interest, and we are looking at ways to tap the same sustainably,” adds Sharma of HCCB.

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SROMPL – India’s 1st Import Export Consultant and Branding and Marketing Company,

Welcome to Sromplexport! We’re a company that helps people and businesses import and export products across different countries. Whether you’re looking to source products, manage logistics, or navigate customs regulations, we’ve got you covered. We’re based in Rajkot, Gujarat, India, and we’re committed to providing ethical and transparent service to our clients. We work with industries like textiles, agriculture, and handicrafts, and we’re always happy to build new relationships with people who want to succeed in the import/export world. Thanks for stopping by, and let us know how we can help you!

Sromplexport offers international trade services, including product sourcing, quality control, logistics, and customs clearance. Our ethical and transparent approach simplifies the import/export process for clients in various industries.

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