People in just about every industry have been hearing about the growing skills gap for some time. After all, with the economy booming and the national unemployment rate still hovering near all-time lows, many companies may have jobs to fill and not enough talented workers to fill them. That may be particularly true in the manufacturing sector, which is simultaneously staffing up and modernizing at a rapid pace.
Currently, there are about 1.4 million open jobs across the U.S. and no one is as qualified to take them as prospective employers would like. That hurts the companies offering those jobs in a number of ways. First and foremost, of course, is the fact that those businesses aren't operating at peak capacity because they just don't have enough people on staff to meet demand from customers or clients.
At the same time, hiring managers now spend an average of 13 hours per week - almost a third of their full 40-hour work week - trying to find more qualified candidates when they could be doing other tasks. That doesn't include the hours those professionals will have to put in for the actual hiring process, which takes an average of over a month. Moreover, in some cases, 90 percent of candidates withdraw themselves from the application process because they find it frustrating.
How it affects manufacturing
One thing to keep in mind about the skills gap is that it is only going to get bigger as time goes on - and that may be particularly true for manufacturers. Data suggests that as many as 2.4 million jobs in the industry will go unfilled from 2018 to 2028, and potentially cost the industry $2.5 trillion.
While companies are mostly having success filling the jobs they have available today and further tech disruption will enable employees to work more efficiently, that likely won't be the case in the future as demand continues to rise. Indeed, while some companies are already struggling to fill the open positions they have available, within just the next three years, those difficulties could increase three-fold.
The vital role of manufacturing
It's worth noting that many leaders from both the public and private sectors see the importance of manufacturing in the American economy. As such, federal, state and local governments are increasingly working with institutions of higher learning, private businesses or both to boost factory training.
Beyond that, companies also need to make sure they are doing more to "skill up" their current and future hires by incorporating technology into the factory setting. Doing so may not only help them work more efficiently, but also better understand how to incorporate newly adopted technology into their daily work routines.
To learn more about the growing skills gap and technology disruption, please download our whitepaper, titled "Technology Disruption: Leading the Way to Smarter Recruitment." The document contains vital insights from industry expert Hugo Malan, the chief operating officer of EmployBridge, ResourceMFG's parent company. These may help manufacturing firms address the problems of the present and future head-on.
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