U.S. manufacturers currently face a complex set of issues in finding qualified production and operations workers, leading to tens of thousands of unfilled positions throughout the industry. This is expected to intensify in the years ahead, according to a new survey by the Manufacturing Leadership Council | Frost & Sullivan.
Today, more than 80 percent of manufacturers surveyed said they are having difficulty in finding qualified production and operations workers. In the next five to 10 years, the difficulty is expected to further worsen as U.S. companies increasingly compete for talent in a global market.
Significantly, even when manufacturers are able to identify production and operations candidates, many workers show up unprepared to perform their jobs. Slightly over half of survey respondents stated that candidates for hourly production positions are not "workforce-ready" due to educational and cultural factors.
The survey, which garnered 226 responses from companies across a range of manufacturing sectors in the U.S., forms the basis of a new White Paper from the Manufacturing Leadership Council titled "The Manufacturing Workforce: A Deepening Crisis." The survey assessed the state of the workforce, sources of talent, key skills and disciplines, the extent of diversity, the effectiveness of training programs, and the competitiveness of compensation packages.
"The bottom line on the manufacturing workforce issue is that manufacturers will continue to face significant challenges in attracting the people they need to run their production facilities and operations," said Global Vice President and Editor Director at the Manufacturing Leadership Council and lead author of the study David R. Brousell. "Absent major changes and improvements to the educational system as well as the public perception of manufacturing and the career opportunities it can offer, individual manufacturing companies will bear most of the responsibility for providing for their future workforce needs."
Other key findings of the survey include:
• Less than one-third of survey respondents said they have devised a formal strategy to identify their long-term workforce needs, including skill types.
• In the next five to 10 years, more than half of survey takers expect apprenticeships to become a more important source of workers.
• Only a fraction of survey respondents, 14 percent, gave their companies’ training programs high marks.
• A relatively low level of diversity within the ranks of salaried workers today is expected change significantly within the next five to 10 years.
About the Manufacturing Leadership Community
The Manufacturing Leadership Community, Frost & Sullivan (mlcouncil.com), is the world's first member-driven, global business leadership network dedicated to senior executives in the manufacturing industry. The Manufacturing Leadership Community’s mission is to help senior executives define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations, and the industry at large. The Community offers an extensive portfolio of leadership networking, information and professional development products, programs, and services -- including the Manufacturing Executive Website, an online global business network with 5,300 members around the world; the Manufacturing Leadership Council, an invitation-only executive organization of over 100 members; the annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit; the Manufacturing Leadership 100 Awards, celebrating industry achievement; and the thought-leading Manufacturing Leadership Journal.
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