Fear of Worker Shortage Looming Over Manufacturers
But as great as it is that there are so many companies looking to bring manufacturing work back to the U.S., there’s a problem we all have to figure out if we want manufacturing to continue to be the foundation of our economy: the worker shortage looming over us all.
This isn’t a new problem, but it is certainly a reminder that there are a few barriers in our way if we want to continue to succeed in manufacturing as a country.
The worker shortage that could happen if we don’t start focusing more on education in the skilled trades is a very real fear:
- Knovel notes that “a recent survey by the Manufacturing Institute” showed that “42 percent of manufacturing executives reported that their companies were being ‘negatively affected,’ either by shortages or, increasingly, skill deficiencies in engineering support.”
- What’s more, Knovel also mentions a study by NIST and McKinsey, which found that “45 percent of U.S. employers cited a lack of skills as a recurring problem in hiring new recruits, while there is an increasing number of applicants who are academically qualified but have no experience working in the industry.”
With a massive amount of jobs in manufacturing being left open because of the skills gap, it seems in some ways that the worker shortage we’re discussing is already upon us. And it’s not just us, either–reports have shown that Canada and the U.K. are facing similar problems, as well.
If we don’t all start doing something about it, we’re all going to be in real trouble–so it’s time we start thinking about standing up and really supporting the skilled trades and manufacturing.
So what do you think? As a manufacturer, how worried are you about the potential worker shortage, and how are you preparing to work through it? Let us know your thoughts on the issue in the comments or on Twitter. We’re all in this together, and we’d love to hear what you have to say.
Photo credit: John F. Martin/Argonne National Laboratory (flickr) via Indiana Public Media