Becoming an employer of choice
The numbers are well-known to anyone looking at the workforce shortage in manufacturing:
- There are an estimated 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Even if that number is overstated by half, filling those jobs would have an impact on both unemployment rates and domestic output.
- A 2011 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found 67% of respondents reporting a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers, while 56% said they anticipated the shortage to grow worse over a five-year period.
- The study also found manufacturers were unable to fill 600,000 jobs, with nearly 75% noting the biggest shortage fell in the realm of skilled production jobs – including welders and operators.
- The 2012 Plant Engineering Salary Survey found the number one issue facing plant managers is the lack of a skilled workforce. It marks the eighth straight year the issue has topped the list.
Numbers, of course, are not people. It will take more than putting out a ‘Help Wanted’ shingle on the front door to attract the workers needed for manufacturing’s continued growth in the U.S. It will require an aggressive, diverse and comprehensive approach to the problem to move the needle on workforce development, and a new approach with a new generation of workers.
The good news is that the tide has turned in the popular media. No longer seen solely as a dirty and monotonous job, modern manufacturing is increasingly portrayed as skilled work done by valued people in a clean, safe and goal-driven environment. Manufacturing as an occupation is now seen as vital to our national interest and, given the issues in Europe and China, a newly-minted world leader. The reality is that it always has been so; it is the perception of manufacturing has gained new importance.
So there has never been a better time to tout manufacturing as a career choice to the next generation of workers. How do you become an employer of choice in this emerging manufacturing renaissance? Five experts from five different areas of our business took an exclusive look at this issue for Plant Engineering in the links provided below.