Manufacturing industry faces worker shortage

While offshore manufacturing has become a trend in recent decades and proven to be an effective method for reducing labor costs and keeping up hectic production schedules, many companies are moving their factories back to the United States. Domestic production offers businesses the benefit of a shorter supply chain and lower logistical expenses if they are selling products primarily within the U.S.

However, domestic manufacturing can bring with it additional challenges, one of which is the limited American workforce. While unemployment in the country remains high, many lack the necessary skills or training to be considered for various production positions. This trend could pose a problem for those companies seeking to nearshore facilities or expand domestically.

Lack of skilled workers

According to a report from the Manufacturing Institute, as many as 600,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled, in part because applicants are not qualified to handle the requirements of the positions.This could be because many manufacturers are seeking applicants with basic problem solving skills, the most commonly cited problem with current manufacturing employees. This issuehits high skill positions significantly, and the report revealed companies anticipate the most skilled employees will be the most difficult to recruit in the future.

While some companies may remain optimistic about their recruiting outlook, others are concerned about the rapid rate at which current skilled workers are retiring. Many employees in the manufacturing field are at or quickly approaching the age at which they planned to leave the workforce, leaving companies with even more unfilled positions and few qualified applicants to take the vacant jobs.

Taking on these challenges

Companies looking to increase U.S. production will need to address the challenges of a limited workforce when moving factories back to the States. In order to work around the problems faced by other manufacturers, businesses should look for new recruiting strategies. According to the Manufacturing Institute report, many firms rely on outdated hiring and training strategies that can limit the pool of applicants. While these techniques, including informal word-of-mouth recruiting, production facilities could be missing out on the chance to find the quality applicants they seek. By updating these processes to fit new worker expectations, a company may find it has an easier time finding and keeping a skilled workforce that can contribute to its manufacturing supply chain operations.
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