Report Shows Manufacturing Skills Gap

A recently released report by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, conducted in July and August, 2011, shows a significant shortage of skilled manufacturing employees.  Based on a survey of over 1,100 US manufacturing companies, 67% of study respondents reported a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers and 56% anticipated the shortage to grow worse in the next three to five years. In addition, the survey indicated that 5% of current jobs at respondent manufacturers are unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates.

Other notable findings of the study are as follows:

The hardest jobs to fill are those that have the biggest impact on performance-74% of respondents indicated that workforce shortages or skills deficiencies in skilled production roles are having a significant impact on their ability to expand operations or improve productivity.

ImageHigh unemployment is not making it easier to fill positions, particularly in the areas of skilled production and production support-5% of jobs remain unfilled simply because companies can’t find people with the right skills. This means that as many as 600,000 jobs are going unfilled, a remarkable fact when the country is facing an unemployment rate that hovers above 9%.

The skills gap is expected to take the biggest toll on skilled production jobs, and will likely widen as time passes-respondents identified skilled production jobs as those where the skills gap is likely to have the biggest impact in the future-80% of respondents indicated that machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, and technician positions will be hardest hit by retirements in the upcoming years. At the same time, companies expect the skilled production group to be the hardest to find in the job market, respondents report that the national education curriculum is not producing workers with the basic skills they need – a trend not likely to improve in the near term.

Overall, 68% of respondents report that highly skilled, flexible workforce will be most important to company future success in the next 3-5 years, more than any other company concern.

ImageSource: “Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in US Manufacturing.” Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.  A copy of the complete report can be found on The Manufacturing Institute website.

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