State of the Workforce
A never-ending conversation in the manufacturing world over the past few years has been the demand for quality employees in the rapidly changing world of the fourth industrial revolution. Almost every single manufacturer in various specialties is starving for employees, but can’t seem to fill the positions.
In fact, in a study performed by Deloitte in 2018, they predict that our industry is facing a potential shortage of 2.4 million workers in the next decade.
But why is this? It’s not as if the US population is declining (or plans to decline) anytime soon.
The Deloitte report points to three different reasons behind why they believe this trend will occur in the next decade:
- Shifting skill sets due to new technology
- Misperceptions of manufacturing jobs
- Retirement of baby boomers
While these three reasons do pose a threat to the current status quo, there are ways for us manufacturers to address all three with just a little bit of brainstorming and collaboration.
Shifting Skill Sets Due to New Technology
As we continue to research and evolve, new technology and machinery will continue to make its way onto the shop floor. This means that our team will be left with less repetitive jobs, and more positions that require problem solving, collaboration, and innovation.
But this shift cannot happen overnight. In order to stay loyal to our teams who have stayed loyal to us, it is our job to find pathways to efficiency that include their abilities and currently underutilized skill sets.
Instead of seeing new technology as “replacements,” view this tech as “enhancements” to your workforce. Identify team members that show an interest in the new technology and how it can improve their position.
You will find yourself being able to realign your team to sit in the right seats, instead of just throwing in the towel and feeling like you have to start from scratch with a new row of candidates.
Misperceptions of Manufacturing Jobs
As manufacturing leadership, this is an area we have complete control over the narrative we choose to tell. We need to be out in our communities, in our schools, and in our government sharing that manufacturing is no longer the position of the 1900’s.
Through teamwork, innovation, and encouragement, a position in manufacturing is a place to grow. And, it is a place to stretch your knowledge and influence our world for a better tomorrow.
If you don’t currently have a dedicated partner to help you share your story, find a local marketing or PR firm to help you spread the word about the real opportunities with your company.
Attend the local high school’s career fairs – take a few team members from the floor and have them share their real experiences about why they chose you.
Get involved in the local technical school. Sit on their boards, volunteer in their classrooms, hire their students as interns for the summer, and ask what they need to better prepare your employees of tomorrow.
Volunteer in your community through various nonprofits and government entities. Share with your community the opportunities, jobs, and livelihoods that your organization’s presence provide to the area.
It won’t be easy, but you will need to start somewhere. Sit down with your leadership and determine where the highest priorities lie – and just start there. Create a detailed plan with numerical measurables and a realistic timelines.
Retirement of Baby Boomers
Now, this is one we can’t really directly influence. Unfortunately, our legacy employees will eventually have to leave us. But, if we are adamant in our influence of the first two trends, this will not be a hindrance in the productivity and ability of our facilities.
We’re Ready…Are You?
We encourage you to start planning today for the manufacturing world of tomorrow. And this isn’t something we’re just preaching about – we are actively living it! One way we have found to help change perceptions about a career in manufacturing is by participating in National Manufacturing Day every October by inviting middle schoolers to the shop to see the possibilities for themselves.
Curious about how else Pentaflex is preparing for continued shifts in our industry for our customers and our team?
Give us a call at 937-325-5551 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk more.