It's no secret that industries were hit hard by the recession and now again by the dip in oil and gas prices. While many sectors have seen growth, however slight, the manufacturing industry currently experiences cutbacks and very few fresh faces on the scene. Now, it's not surprising that no one's getting hired for manufacturing jobs, as there just aren't that many to be had, but what is truly strange is that barely any skilled laborers are available for the jobs that do exist.
This trend, however, is not just appearing as a result of the economic uncertainties, as there has been an urgency to train and hire skilled laborers since the early 1990s, reported IndustryWeek. What exactly is happening to skilled laborers and why are we running out of them?
The widening gap
The skill shortage the United States has been experiencing is an issue raised by various analysts for the past few decades, but there hasn't been much done about it. The manufacturing sector has been steadily losing jobs to machines, but jobs are still available for people to operate and monitor the behemoths. Not only do these positions require a refined knowledge of how to manage the machines, but also how to repair them should they need it.
Unfortunately, it's apparently that there are fewer people entering into programs that would provide such training. According to a recent study detailing the gap of manufacturing skills in the U.S. for 2015 and the future, there will be over 3.5 million jobs to be filled and it's expected that 2 million of them will remain vacant, reported The Manufacturing Institute. This will stunt the growth of the industry as a whole and will undoubtedly lead to issues with profits. Firms will not last long if they can't meet the demands of consumers.
The study also indicated steps that should be taken to ensure the future of the industry. Some strategies include outreach programs and working with community and technical colleges to collaborate on curriculum. It seems that the main issue is creating interest in the sector and attracting people to fill the positions that will eventually be available. The government should also do its part to help mitigate the shortage, as it will undoubtedly be affected as well.
The here and now
In order to change the fate of the manufacturing sector from sure demise, we need to be proactive in our steps and get the industry back on track. Employment is steadily rising, albeit slowly, in various locations around the country. Staffing Industry Analysis reported cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, New York and Richmond are in need of workers, whereas other cities like Minneapolis and Dallas are experiencing layoffs.
Skilled laborers should go to where the jobs are. Uprooting families is never easy, but at least there is work to be had, which isn't the case for professionals who stay where the job market is shrinking. Where companies are not cutting back on jobs, they're reducing wages. This makes it difficult to keep workers, contributing to the decline. Firms should be encouraging laborers to go where they're needed, and perhaps work with companies elsewhere to offer jobs and relocate people to their benefit.
It does seem like the future of the manufacturing industry is fairly dire. However, these estimations do not need to come to fruition. Creating more buzz about jobs and helping workers stay employed will go a long way toward securing the future outcome. Losing American manufacturing thus far has already been hard on American companies, and we should do our best to keep the sector alive and strong.