Yes, the manufacturing skills gap is real, and it’s widening with each passing year.
In 2013, 39% of U.S. employers reported having difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent. The National Manufacturing Institute reports that over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need filled, but due to the skills gap 2 million of those jobs will go vacant.
When asked, employers note the most serious skill deficiencies among applicants are technical and computer skills, followed by lack of problem solving skills, basic technical training and math skills. Moreover, retaining, hiring, and developing a skilled workforce is increasingly difficult in the face of aging demographics (retirement of baby boomers).
Manufacturers have a significant role in solving the manufacturing skills gap. By taking note, stepping up and taking action, we can ensure that manufacturing continues to be the foundation of our economy, but where do we start?
- Advocating for STEM-rich courses during middle school and high school years
- Supporting Manufacturing Day and other STEM career awareness programs
- Intern programs that highlight manufacturing and help build interest in STEM careers
- Offering shadowing experiences to students in order to see today’s manufacturing environment up close
- Internally nurturing talent management and developing a workforce designed to meet business goals
- Participating in community and college job fairs to highlight manufacturing and STEM careers
Check out the infographic below to learn even more about the manufacturing skills gap. Or for a full picture of the skills gap check out the National Manufacturing Institute’s report – The Skills Gap in Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond.