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Building and Empowering a Dynamic Workforce

Rebecca Liebert, Senior Vice President, Automotive Coatings, PPG
Rebecca Liebert, Senior Vice President, Automotive Coatings, PPG

Rebecca Liebert, Senior Vice President, Automotive Coatings, PPG

At the core of every successful company is its workforce. At PPG, that’s no different. Our more than 47,000 employees across the world are the cornerstone of every achievement we attain as an organization. We trust our employees immensely and empower them to provide sustainable solutions to address our customers’ greatest needs.

As the world’s leading coatings company, we serve more industries than any of our competitors. From automobiles and jetliners to water tanks and family homes, our coatings and specialty materials help our customers protect, enhance and beautify valued assets. I cannot overemphasize the importance of establishing a culture that empowers employees to more effectively contribute to our shared success.

By creating a diverse workforce, manufacturing companies can meet challenges quickly, creatively and effectively providing a significant competitive advantage in today’s global economy – an imperative for the success and sustainability of our industry. Earlier this year, PPG was named one of the Best Employers for Diversity by FORBES magazine, which ranks the top U.S companies that demonstrate a dedication to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We also received a Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index perfect score of 100 percent, allowing PPG to be designated a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

Workplaces across the United States – no matter the industry – continue to transform at an increasingly rapid pace. Organizations that want to keep up with these changes must place a focus on the valuable contributions of their employees. Leveraging data analytics regarding the workforce provides great value to any organization as companies can gain better insight into areas such as diverse employment needs, hiring trends and employee retention.

  Organizations can also unleash the full potential of their workforce by creating a culture where unique strengths and the differences of others thrive together  

Statistics show that engaged employees deliver better results. According to a Gallup study, work units in the top quartile of employee engagement outperformed bottom performing quartile units by 10% on customer rating, 22% in profitability and 21% in productivity, leading to higher company earnings. Companies who link their corporate vision and strategy to their employees’ direct work and analytics around the workforce drive higher engagement and thus are better positioned to both predict and drive business performance.

Workforce development critical to modern manufacturing

According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing jobs increased by 13,000 in January 2018, hitting an 11-year high of 12.8 million. However, just because there are more jobs doesn’t mean companies currently can fill these jobs. Last year, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute reported results from their fourth skills gap study. The study revealed that the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.

At PPG, it’s clear that we must act now to ensure we have the available talent to meet our current needs and that there is a robust, diverse pipeline of talent for years to come. A major factor in the skills gap is the outdated perception that manufacturing’s best days are behind us. Manufacturing is a growing sector that offers attractive, skilled opportunities in high-tech environments.

To address the skills gap, we need to continue to empower young people, especially women and minorities, to explore careers in manufacturing. From the plant floor to the boardroom, from engineering and R&D to the trades, there are countless opportunities to have a successful career in manufacturing. While women and minorities traditionally have been underrepresented, they are an untapped source of talent, innovation and perspective for manufacturers across the U.S.

Why is the next generation of workers so important to manufacturers like PPG, who has more than 47,000 employees across 70 countries? A diverse, energetic and innovative workforce can have a positive impact on a company’s health and culture. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, when employees believe their organization is committed to inclusion, companies report better business performance in terms of innovation. Organizations can also unleash the full potential of their workforce by creating a culture where unique strengths and the differences of others thrive together.

Finally, one of the best ways to increase interest in manufacturing is to educate young people on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities early on in their development. Manufacturers across the country are encouraged to support STEM education opportunities that will help develop the next generation. When companies like PPG open their doors to the public or participate in educational programs, we also open the minds of students, parents, and teachers to the world of modern manufacturing.

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