Unlocking the Future: Navigating the Additive Manufacturing Talent Landscape in 2024

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The additive manufacturing (AM) industry stands at a pivotal juncture as it navigates through the complexities of talent acquisition and job market dynamics in 2024. With the rapid evolution of technology and the industrialization of AM pushing forward, businesses are grappling with the ongoing challenge of securing qualified professionals to fuel their growth and innovation.

Talent Acquisition: Demand Outstrips Availability

In the latest report from Alexander Daniels Global (ADG), the perennial struggle for talent acquisition in the AM sector remains evident. Despite efforts to bridge the gap between industry demands and the available workforce, the demand for skilled professionals continues to outstrip availability. The 2023 report highlighted the potential for collaboration between broader manufacturing talent pools and the specialized field of AM as skills needed within general manufacturing start to converge with that of specialized additive manufacturing.

However, despite initiatives such as AM-focused university courses and partnerships between educational institutions and industry stakeholders, a disparity persists. This is particularly evident in roles that require practical skills or hourly talent such as machine operators, part finishers, material handlers etc, where talent with those skills can easily be picked up by competitor industries, such as Aerospace, Automotive or General Manufacturing. It becomes a challenge for the AM industry to compete with the compensation offered by these competitor industries, whilst also trying to maintain competitive pricing within the AM industry.

A Shift in Job Market Dynamics

The 2024 AM Salary Survey Report sheds light on a concerning trend: while the talent pool has grown, the availability of AM jobs has declined. This trend, which intensified throughout 2023, suggests a momentary pause in the industry’s growth trajectory. The debate and difference in opinion surrounding whether the industry is experiencing a period of difficulty or growth – which became a topic of conversation at the recent Additive Manufacturing Strategies conference in New York – underscores the complexity of the current climate.

Impact on Employers and Talent

The competitive job market witnessed in 2023, characterized by high candidate-to-job ratios, has left professionals underselling their skills and employers with the challenge of navigating a saturated talent market. Despite the perceived ease of recruitment in a talent-saturated market, employers must adopt a strategic hiring approach to avoid potential job dissatisfaction among new hires and mitigate the risk of mismatches in skill sets and expertise as we go forward into 2024.

Turnover Rates and Industry Maturation

Predictions for 2024 indicate an increase in talent market movement, with anticipated turnover rates rising to 21.6%. While turnover rates have been relatively consistent over the past few years, the reduction in available job opportunities does not signify a halt in hiring. Instead, it reflects a shift towards strategic hiring practices as companies adapt to challenging market conditions and the maturation of the AM industry.

Looking Ahead

As the AM industry navigates the complexities of talent acquisition and job market dynamics, collaboration between industry stakeholders, educational institutions, and policymakers is paramount. Initiatives aimed at bridging the skills gap and fostering innovation in AM education and training programs will be instrumental in shaping the future talent landscape.

In conclusion, while the AM industry grapples with the challenges posed by talent acquisition and job market dynamics in 2024, it also presents opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and growth. By addressing the evolving needs of employers and talent alike, the AM sector can position itself for sustained success in the years to come.

The 2024 Additive Manufacturing Salary Survey Report 

More insights like this can be found in the 2024 AM Salary Survey Report from Alexander Daniels Global. The report is available as a free download from the ADG website and contains the industry’s most comprehensive and detailed salary guide, talent and job market insights, alongside commentary from industry experts such as Arno Held, Managing Partner at AM Ventures; Hamid Zarringhalam, Corporate Vice President at Nikon; and Michael Molitch-Hou, Editor-in-Chief at 3DPrint.com.

Visit the Alexander Daniels Global website today to get your copy.

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