EASTEC-Skilled Labor Facts and Trends

American manufacturers are increasingly finding that prospective workers do not have the skill set required to perform necessary job functions, such as basic math and computer abilities. The so-called “skills gap,” if unresolved, could compromise manufacturers’ ability to stay competitive, according to some industry leaders.-U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, May 2014

Overview
The gap between the need for skilled workers and the availability of this talent is profound. Today, the manufacturing workforce shortage is reported to be as high as 600,000.  This crisis stems from several things:

  • Limited pipeline – There has been a decline in people pursuing STEM education and younger generations are less drawn to a career in manufacturing.
  • Retiring workforce – Baby boomers are hitting retirement age. Valuable experience and skills go with them.
  • By 2030 more than 20 percent of Americans are projected to be aged 65 and over, compared with 13 percent in 2010 and 9.8 percent in 1970, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
  • Changing pace of technology – At no other time has technical innovation moved so quickly.  This is great news for growing companies, but can be a challenge for workers who can’t keep pace and are left behind.
  • Reshoring – This movement to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. creates an even bigger demand for jobs.

This is a critical area to address as talent-driven innovation, based on the quality and availability of workers (skilled labor as well as researchers, scientists and engineers) is the number one driver of manufacturing competiveness, according toDeloitte’s 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index.

This is one area of concern for companies attending SME’s EASTEC, the East Coast’s premier manufacturing event, held May 12-14, 2015, at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. There, more than 12,000 decision makers in the manufacturing industry and 650 exhibitors from the Northeast and beyond will gather to discuss challenges like these as well as network and get information on best practices, solutions and processes that increase employees productivity and company profits.

To address skilled labor needs, EASTEC will highlight SME’s Bright Minds Program, a forum for students to connect and communicate with educators, industry leaders and each other to explore career opportunities, technological innovations and advancements, and discuss how to move the manufacturing industry forward and ways to fill the employee pipeline.

Fast Facts About U.S. Skilled Labor

  • Nine out of 10 manufacturers are struggling to find the skilled workers needed, which is impacting production, quality, innovation and growth.[1]
  • More than half (54 percent) of manufacturers say they don’t have a plan in place to address the skilled labor shortage.[2]
  • According to the Tooling U-SME 2014 Manufacturing Insights Report[3], there is a direct connection between a skilled, highly trained workforce and organizational improvements that boost the bottom line.
  • The same report shows manufacturers at or near world-class workforce training and development recognize its importance, support it with investments and training, and enjoy improved performances:
  • 53 percent of facilities offer more than 20 annual hours of training per employee
  • 77 percent experienced employee retention of more than five years
  • 78 percent had 5 percent or lower annual labor turnover

Fast Facts About New England’s Skilled Labor

  • Connecticut’s nearly 4,500 manufacturing firms represent a number of key industries, including transportation equipment (primarily aerospace, submarines, and automotive), chemicals, fabricated metals, electrical equipment, computer and electronic products, machinery, food and beverages, and plastics. Manufacturing is the single largest contributor to its gross state product.[4]
  • Manufacturing in Connecticut is responsible for 164,200 jobs, just over 10 percent of that state’s total nonfarm employment.[5]
  • Rhode Island manufacturers employ 40,700, or 10 percent, of the state’s workforce. Rhode Island experienced an increase of 1,000 manufacturing jobs in 2013. The average wage is $51,000 annually.[6]
  • In Massachusetts, manufacturing generates 13 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product, more than any other major sector.[7]
  • The manufacturing sector’s aging workforce in Massachusetts will create 100,000 job openings over the next decade. And these are considered good-paying jobs, with average salaries of about $75,000.[8]

Find out more about attending or exhibiting at EASTEC here. For more information on the education and keynote sessions, go here. To learn more about the Bright Minds program, go here. Join the conversation on Twitter at @EASTEC and on Facebook at facebook.com/EASTEC. Use hashtag #EASTEC.

Contact:
Beth Richman
brichman@splashllc.com (312) 806-8999

[1]The Great Skills Gap Concern–Manufacturing, SME, in partnership with Brandon Hall and Training magazine, 2013.
[1] Ibid
[1] Tooling U-SME Manufacturing Insights Report: Winning Practices of World-Class Companies, The MPI Group, 2014
[1]State of Connecticut Department of Labor
[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics
[1]Commerce RI Economic Development Plan 2014
[1]The Great Skills Gap Concern–Manufacturing, SME, in partnership with Brandon Hall and Training magazine, 2013.
[2] Ibid
[3] Tooling U-SME Manufacturing Insights Report: Winning Practices of World-Class Companies, The MPI Group, 2014
[4]State of Connecticut Department of Labor
[5] Bureau of Labor Statistics
[6]Commerce RI Economic Development Plan 2014
[7] “Siemens offers $660 million to help narrow skills gap,” Boston Globe, April 16, 2014
[8] Dukakis Center, Northeastern University

 

 

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