While manufacturers across the globe are embracing the digital revolution that has been transforming the workplace, they are also scrambling to find workers who are skilled enough to handle it. Right now, millions of jobs are opening up in industries across the board, but there are not enough qualified workers to fill the positions.
According to The Manufacturing Institute, 2.69M jobs will open up from retirements, while 1.96M jobs will open through natural industry growth over the next ten years. This will create 4.6M new jobs in the manufacturing industry. Of those open jobs, only 2.2M are likely to be taken, leaving a devastating 2.4M jobs left unfilled.
This is a huge problem that the industry is facing, leaving many companies struggling to keep their doors open. In order for manufacturing to continue to grow and flourish, companies need to find new strategies to recruit and retain employees. Competition for skilled workers will be tough, but by putting in the work to attract new talent, manufacturers can take some weight off their shoulders and close the gap once and for all.
Fill the knowledge gap by boosting the skills of your current team.
While finding new skilled talent is the ultimate goal, manufacturers should not forget about the skills of their current team members. Invest in training sessions or further education for current employees. This will familiarize them with new technology and keep them fresh and informed of what’s going on in the industry. Employees are the foundation of your company’s future, and they will keep the competitive edge and forward-thinking you need to survive. By boosting current employee skills, you won’t have to make up for lost knowledge of new hires.
Get in touch with schools and educators.
One of the many contributing factors of the skills gap is the lack of students pursuing STEM education. This pathway focuses on building expertise in computers, technology, mathematics, problem-solving, and many other skills that are critical to the next generation of manufacturing. With the continuous implementation of technology advancements, the need for STEM education is becoming increasingly urgent.
Manufacturers should get in touch with local educators to get involved with events happening across schools, such as job fairs, presentation opportunities, shadow days or internships. This will prompt students to learn more about the manufacturing industry and even influence them into choosing a STEM pathway.
Open up the factory doors.
The manufacturing industry has often been misunderstood. People don’t always see the stability and benefits that these jobs have to offer. Instead, the community is stuck on an image that’s not particularly appealing.
Manufacturers should open their doors to the community and invite them to see what a job in the industry truly has to offer. Engage with events in local communities, governments and institutions. Open the public eye to the reality of manufacturing and change the image that has plagued the industry.
Many manufacturers also offer their own on-site training sessions to fill positions and get people involved in the company. Apple Rubber offers a free online certification course, Apple Academy, where people of all experience levels can become experts in rubber materials, sealing best practices and engineering quality.
New training programs can recruit non-traditional applicants.
There are a number of new organizations popping up with a mission to help fill the skills gap. These groups are creating programs to help train people looking to enter a new field. For example, LaunchCode, created by former President Barack Obama, is helping people learn tech essentials with no prior knowledge to get them prepared for a job in the industry. The program also has a pathway for employers to search for new hires, select training for new employees and even enhance the skills of their current employees. Programs like this will allow the rise of new talent and create a new platform for manufacturers to fill the gap.
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