25% of manufacturers, during the first quarter of 2019 had to turn down new business opportunities due to a lack of workers, according to a report from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
Why aren’t there enough workers? Manufacturing executives have been losing sleep over this question for a few years. The most common answer is that there is a skills gap. Labor workers don’t have the skills it takes to operate in today’s high technology manufacturing workplace.
Why don’t workers have the right skills? The biggest change was after the recession. When manufacturers got back on their feet, they invested in automation and technology. When laid off workers were looking to come back to the sector, they did not have the skills for the changed job descriptions that demanded much more than pre-recession requirements.
As jobs in manufacturing started to come back — as of January 2019 there were 12.84 million jobs in manufacturing — it became harder to fill them. Currently, there are over 500,000 manufacturing jobs open, according to NAM.
Below is a list of steps we recommend to fill the skills gap in your organization.
Step 1: Keeping up with industry changes
Industries are constantly changing and so it’s important for a business to evolve to avoid being left behind. It’s also important to make sure your business is complying with any industry regulations, which can be achieved through ongoing training, making sure your staff’s skills and knowledge are up-to-date.
Step 2: Be in touch with all the latest technology developments
New technology is being developed all the time and so it is not sufficient to run a one-off training session. Regular training needs to take place to ensure that staff is using all the latest technology comfortably and to its full potential.
Step 3: Mentorship programs
Many organizations are looking into mentorship programs as a tool to teach the skills needed in digitized skilled labor jobs. Several companies have used programs that employ high school students and pay them for the work while they earn a variety of degrees. Programs like this can help bring in needed talent and simultaneously ensure workers enter the workforce with the required skills.
The skills gap in the manufacturing industry will continue to accelerate if the appropriate tactics aren’t put in place. Deploying the steps listed above will help you recruit, train, and retain the next generation of workers that you need.
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