Manufacturers confront labor shortage

Posted on Jan 16, 2017 :: By the Numbers
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

Last year saw the continuation of a tight labor market for regional manufacturers, including an entire New North Summit capping the year dedicated to attracting, retaining and developing talent. The region will face competition when it comes to finding workers. Upskilling Manufacturing, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, studied the labor and productivity challenges facing manufacturers. Key findings include:

• Skills shortages are not uniformly felt today: 33% of manufacturers say they have no or only a little difficulty in hiring talent to exploit advanced manufacturing technologies, while 44% have “moderate difficulty.”

• The concern is that it will worsen: 31% of manufacturers see no manufacturing skills shortage now but worry that there will be one in the next three years; 26% say it’s already peaked and is behind us; and 29% said it exists and will only worsen in the next three years.

• The most common strategy to up-skill employees in advanced manufacturing is to train in-house, followed by recruiting local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students and offering outside vocational training.

• Robots are not stealing manufacturing jobs: 37% believe that the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies will result in their hiring additional employees; 45% said it will have no impact on hiring; and 17% said it will result in hiring fewer employees.

• Advanced technology is changing job requirements and descriptions: Nearly three-quarters of non-factory floor manufacturing jobs are given to candidates with a four-year or advanced degree.