Report: Skills Shortage US
Manufacturing companies in the US are struggling to find workers with technical skills even though the sector has shed more than 2m jobs in the past two years.
A summary of the highly interesting report “People and profitability, A time for change – A 2009 people management practices survey of the manufacturing industry” by Deloitte, Oracle & the Manufacturing Institute
Manufacturing companies were asked to describe the current availability of qualified workers in specified workforce segments:
- 32% reports moderate to serious shortages today.
- 38% of all respondents foresee increased shortages ahead, especially in the manufacturing sectors Aerospace & Defense, in Energy & Resources and in Life Sciences & Medical Services.
(Example: the biomedical industry is thriving well despite the recession (although it faces unprecedented challenges due to a.o. the educational funding crisis.
The fastest-growing occupation—with a 72% growth — is biomedical engineer. Biomedical engineers help develop the equipment and devices that improve or enable the preservation of health. They’re working to develop tomorrow’s MRI machines, asthma inhalers, and artificial hearts.)
(Example: General C. Robert Kehler, US Air Force Space Commander, remarked during a symposium that “we ‘re going to need better propulsion, better power, better plug-and-play technology. We’re going to need better sensors that are smaller and lighter weight. We’re going to need launch vehicles that we can assemble in a different way and get to orbit in a different way“; and thus a lot more manufacturing specialists in the space science and technology. READ full speech HERE).
- The main shortage will not be seen in unskilled labor, but in skilled production, such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians. 51% (!!) reports serious shortages today, the vast majority of whom see increased shortages ahead.
- Boeing – one of the US’s biggest manufacturers and exporters – said that by 2015, 40% of the aircraft maker’s workers reach retirement age. “That’s some 60,000 employees eligible to retire in five years. We just don’t see the recruitment pipeline meeting our needs.”
About 19% of US manufacturing workers are 54 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, only 7% of manufacturing workers are under 25 years old.
“It’s difficult to find people for assembly, machining and motor-winding positions – jobs that require maths skills and the ability to read technical blueprints,” said Ron Bullock, owner of Bison Gear.
Workers are delaying their retirement because of the financial crisis. But, as the economy recovers, a large number of skilled workers will leave. “As we go through the recovery, the situation will get worse,” said Lisa Simeon, a director of the US industrial conglomerate, “and restrict companies’ ability to step up production as the economic recovery gathers pace“. (Source: The Financial Times Limited)
- The top 3 drivers for future business success
(1) New product innovation (requires talented workers)
(2) High-skilled workforce (correlated to higher profitability)
(3) Low-cost producer status
The report concludes that People Management Practices will have a high profile role in the growth of the Manufacturing Industry: How will the requisite skills and capabilities be sourced, developed, engaged and deployed??
TIP: Another good read on this subject: “SOS Shortage of Skilled Workers: A comparison of the European Metal Industry and Electrical Industry”