There is a shortage of skilled workers in manufacturing sector because training programs aren’t keeping pace with changing technology. What results is, businesses send their facilities overseas where skilled talent is not only available but more affordable.
So how do we keep our facilities here, and continue to spur growth?
Amy Kaslow, in Fortune Magazine lists a few things American manufacturers can do to secure their future and stay competitive.
Filling the Gap of Talented Workers in Manufacturing
- Develop more careers: If talent is lacking, it’s time to generate interest amongst jobseekers. Kaslow states that manufacturing is essential to the U.S. Economy (12 percent of total economic output) offering potential of mobility and great earnings. Manufacturers employ 11.5 million Americans and pays higher wages on average. Manufacturers also employ engineers and scientists to support the R and D sector, driving more net wealth than any other part of the nation’s economy. It’s up to manufacturers to make the case for a career in manufacturing.
- Communicate the problem: If the manufacturing industry falters, the consequences for the national economy will be severe given the statistics above. As the workforce ages, these types of jobs get more and more difficult to fill. What happens when a company can’t find the workforce they need? They lose business because they are understaffed and they close or relocate. The first step in solving the problem is awareness of the problem.
- Improve the perception: Campaigns should be deployed in training centers and schools showing the possibilities in the manufacturing sector. Feature workers talking about what they do, and explain what a prospect needs to do in terms of certifications and education to be qualified. Kaslow even suggests opening up your own facilities for prospective workers to get a better idea. Partner with local schools. Create alliances with your local secondary and vocational tech schools to increase awareness at young age, and develop the talent. Offer internships and mentoring programs.
Many American manufacturing businesses have simply been in survival mode due to the sluggish economy and lack of a talented workforce. It’s up to manufacturing to become marketers, in a sense; to raise awareness of the situation, and to campaign to get more young students excited about a career in manufacturing, and research and development.
What do you think? Is a lack of talented workforce one of the big challenges the manufacturing sector faces?