2015 Workforce Development Study
Five findings on the unskilled workforce struggle
Respondents to the CFE Media 2015 Workforce Development Study identified five high-level findings impacting the manufacturing industries today:
- Workforce shortage: The average manufacturing facility today has 5% of jobs currently unfilled, down from 7% in 2014. Despite the decrease, 64% of respondents still believe that their facility’s workforce shortage will increase over the next 3 to 5 years.
- Causes: When asked about the primary causes of the workforce shortage, 56% of respondents said there aren’t enough skilled applicants to fill the roles of the growing number of retirees, and another 34% agree that their hiring rates aren’t keeping up with manufacturing’s rapid expansion.
- Unskilled workforce: According to respondents, the younger workforce most lacks problem solving (57%), instrumentation (55%), project management (51%), and electrical knowledge (50%); but they remain proficient in computer knowledge (60%) and other basic skills (31%).
- Actions taken: In an effort to combat the workforce shortage, 44% of facilities have taken to online recruitment and job postings, 40% have instituted or increased in-house training, and 35% have reached out to local technical schools for assistance. Nine in 10 respondents believe that their facilities still need to increase internal education/training programs and provide clear career paths for each new employee in order to better appeal to the younger workforce.
- Manufacturing’s image: More than half of respondents still don’t believe that manufacturing is portrayed as a positive career choice in the U.S. Sixty-three percent agree that offering apprenticeship programs would help to improve manufacturing’s image, and another 57% think introducing this career choice at an earlier education level—as well as improving salaries, benefits, and job security—are key action items.
– Amanda Pelliccione is research director at CFE Media.