How the Skills Gap Could Affect Your Manufacturing Business

The United States manufacturing industry is booming, but has yet to overcome the skills gap. The skills gap is not the newest challenge for the industry, but it’s the biggest. And with the surge of retiring baby boomers and the increasing dependence on smart manufacturing technologies, the skills gap is only expected to grow wider over time.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to start thinking about how the skills gap could affect your manufacturing business and what you need to do to minimize its effects.

The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing

skills gapA skills gap refers to the difference in the skills required for a job and the actual skills a potential employee has. A skills gap in manufacturing can cause a number of issues for many companies. However, the biggest concerns caused by this ongoing problem are worker shortages and the inability to meet consumer demands.

Worker Shortages in Manufacturing

With more and more baby boomers (Americans born from 1946 to 1964) retiring, businesses are losing technicians, machinists, operators, and other highly skilled workers more quickly than ever before, according to a study by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte.

The study also states that manufacturing companies have started to focus on hiring younger talent, which has opened more job opportunities across the country. The problem, however, is that businesses are unable to find suitable workers to replace their retiring employees.

According to The Wall Street Journal, technical education and training systems haven’t evolved to cater to the advancements and changes within the industry. Because of this, the younger generation doesn’t have the proper training needed to fulfill skilled job roles within the industry. This has led to many unfilled jobs and workers’ shortages all over the country.

Inability to Fulfill Consumer Demands

skills gapBecause it’s gotten so difficult to find qualified employees, businesses have had trouble keeping up with and fulfilling consumer demands. With a lack of skilled employees, productivity can decline and lead to slower production times, increased operation costs, and other performance issues.

On top of that, the skills gap can affect a company’s ability to stay competitive in the global market, according to a recent U.S. News & World Report article. This means that U.S. manufacturing companies suffering from lack of workers due to the skills gap can experience decreased profits and overall global success.

How to Fill the Skills Gap in Manufacturing

The skills gap can be intimidating for many manufacturing businesses. However, there are ways to start filling the gap and minimize its effects on your company. The best way to do that is to offer training to the younger generation.

Start by working with technical schools and colleges to provide education programs for jobs in the manufacturing industry. Then, offer apprenticeships to attract and train new talent for your company.

Once you start hiring more people, reevaluate your training program and make sure everything is updated to cater to the changes in your business and the industry. For example, if you recently implemented a new system or tool to the production floor, make sure you train all new and current employees on its operation, best practices, and safety procedures.

By providing the right education and training to students and young employees, you’ll be able to find and hire skilled workers to fill the skills gap in your manufacturing business.

For more industry news and tips, read CPV Manufacturing’s blog.