DataPoints: How manufacturers are addressing the skills shortage

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Like many other industries, U.S. manufacturers are currently facing a shortage of qualified workers. About 85% of 389 manufacturers responding to a recent survey report having unfilled positions for which they were struggling to find qualified applicants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturers had more than 1 million open jobs in October 2021.

Companies are trying to address the skills shortage by creating or expanding internal training programs, using temporary staffing services, collaborating with educational institutions on skills certification programs and encouraging possible retirees to stay on longer, among others, according to the NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Without enough workers, nearly 45% of respondents were unable to take on new business and had lost revenue opportunities, says the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). To try to attract new employees, manufacturers expect to increase wages by 3.8% over the next year, the fastest rate recorded by the quarterly survey since it started in 1997. The expected wage increases were largest for medium manufacturers, up 4% over last year. Small and large companies predict 3.4% to 3.7% increases, respectively.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.