Where to find the workers?

The 2017 Salary Survey reveals there is still difficulty finding skilled workers.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media February 5, 2018

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey will be published next week, and the overall news is positive. The one issue that annually bedevils plant managers is the difficulty they have in finding skilled workers.

The issue of a skilled workforce has been the same since we first started asking our readers about their biggest concern heading into each new year. The lack of a skilled workforce has been the top issue for 11 of the last 12 years, supplanted only by the economy in 2015.

What’s the answer? Despite growth in the community college manufacturing training programs, and an emphasis on career development by local and regional manufacturers, there still is a need for workers trained in new technology as well as a dire need for welders. Robots only can do so much, apparently.

Another issue raised last year is that stricter immigration policies may wind up slowing manufacturing growth. With unemployment at low levels, finding the right people—or even enough people—to work in manufacturing may imperil the robust growth of the last six years.