Finding qualified candidates for manufacturing positions isn’t always easy; and it may become harder

Solving the Skills Gap in Manufacturing - Talent IntelligenceThe manufacturing industry is currently facing a challenging employment scenario — for a few distinct reasons.

As in other sectors, members of the baby boomer generation are retiring and vacating a significant number of jobs. Estimates from a 2018 Deloitte report indicate more than 2.6 million are expected to leave the manufacturing industry over the next decade.

Due to the increased use of automation and other advanced technology numerous workers might not have experience with yet, employers may struggle to find replacements for those unfilled manufacturing jobs — in addition to the 1.96 million industry growth is predicted to add during that 10-year time period.

Addressing labor shortages was one of manufacturers’ top three priorities in 2018, according to a report from Yeo & Yeo and LEA Global/The Leading Edge Alliance. More than half — 55 percent — identified talent as the biggest barrier to business growth they anticipated encountering; and labor concerns may continue for some time.

With notable expansion forecast for certain countries — an examination from Interact Analysis suggests China, for example, will see a compound annual growth rate that’s as high as 7.1 percent in the next five years — the skilled labor shortage in manufacturing could become particularly pronounced in some areas.

In the U.S. alone, 2.4 million unfilled manufacturing jobs are expected to exist between 2018 and 2028 because of impending skills gap issues, according to Deloitte.

To ensure operations will continue without delay, analysts and members of the manufacturing industry have identified several techniques that may help employers prepare to proactively address future employment needs now.

Three of the potential approaches include:

money-salaryMonetarily incentivize candidates

Sixty-two percent — the largest amount — of manufacturers say they plan to fill staffing needs by offering increased salary, bonuses or other forms of compensation.

However, as Deloitte noted in its report, higher pay may attract jobseekers — but it might not keep them on board forever. Sixty-six percent of industry executives say they’ve seen skilled workers leave to accept external manufacturing positions that provide higher pay.

Maximize internal resources

With the labor market growing increasingly more competitive, a number of manufacturers say they plan to tap into other strategies to ensure qualified talent is on hand — including training programs such as internships and apprenticeships (42 percent), working to reduce turnover (39 percent) and conducting more deliberate succession planning (28 percent), according to Yeo & Yeo and LEA Global/The Leading Edge Alliance’s research. Twenty-six percent say they’ll increase overtime to ensure work is completed.

Encourage and utilize large-scale assistance efforts

As a Brookings Institution analysis notes, governmentally or industry group-sponsored vocational training and other programs that urge people to pursue an education in STEM fields can increase the overall pool of skilled workers, helping businesses that may lack the resources to internally prepare employees for new roles be able to find workers fill unfilled manufacturing jobs.

For more information about preventing skills gaps, view our blog posts on solving your most critical internal and external talent pool issues, overcoming succession planning challenges and why it’s important to establish a talent pipelining program — and how to do it.

For insight into ways to transform your current workforce into one with the skills you need, our blog posts on how to identify the most effective type of training to use and reverse mentoring, traditional mentoring and apprenticeship programs can help position your organization to provide current and potential employees with new, valuable proficiencies.