Need for Skilled Workers is the "Perfect Storm" for Manufacturers

In a column for IndustryWeek (6/11, Gold), Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) President and CEO Stephen Gold writes that “just as American manufacturing seems to be hitting its stride, the sector now faces the perfect storm when it comes to finding and developing the workforce of the future,” as “baby boomers are retiring from all sectors at a rate of 10,000 a day in the United States, taking their institutional and technical knowledge with them into retirement.”


In addition, “The number of American youth with sufficient STEM education for a shop floor or R&D department is inadequate – and those who do have these skills typically do not entertain manufacturing as a career option, often favoring the tech sector.” The issues of baby boomer retirements is “particularly challenging for manufacturers,” the article adds, because “not only are more than a quarter of manufacturing workers over the age of 55, but the BLS also notes that manufacturers have the highest tenure compared to other sectors” which “translates into more institutional knowledge within the sector, which is now steadily declining.”



The wave of baby boomer retirements “is made worse by the limited supply of STEM-educated students prepared to join the manufacturing sector,” a trend that is “supported by the oft-cited study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute predicting that over the next decade 2 million of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely needed will go unfilled because of the skills gap.” If US manufacturing is to maintain its momentum, Gold concludes, the loss of skilled workers “must be addressed.”


Source: National Association of Manufacturers (www.nam.org)

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