“The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” made a staggering report about labor gap. In the next decade, roughly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be occupied. The skills gap is predicted to result in over 2 million of those jobs going unoccupied. The skilled labor shortage problem is not a new one. Practically all manufacturing industries, such as like making custom plastic parts manufacturing, experience labor gap. The workforce issue started about 30 years ago. Today, skill shortage in manufacturing continues to be prevalent. The threat of retiring baby boomers is higher than ever. The question is, why do plastic parts manufacturers and others let this happen? Why did they fail to invest in advanced skills training before it turned into a serious problem? The answer is typically money constraints and the evasion of investing in workforce training.
The Problems that Lead to Labor Gap
Today, there seems to be a big disconnect between what the studies need in advanced skill training and the actual training given to workers. A factory today is majorly automated. It is equipped with programmable controllers, computers, and an array of automatic packaging devices. Yearly, big businesses invest in more automation and complex equipment to cut workforce. But, what they fail to understand is that these machines also need skilled laborers. The devices need to be operated and maintained after all. As such, comprehensive training to elevate the workers’ skill sets are required.
Another big concern about this issue is recruiting workers. Companies have a hard time attracting skilled workers to handle new machines and complex tasks. They particularly have a problem recruiting students with a STEM education. Since the 80s, large companies had two main workforce goals: get rid of unions and reduce labor costs. Most have successfully achieved these goals. They implement two-tier wage plans, hire contract workers, and offshore jobs to other countries. Young people are aware of this, so they put manufacturing careers as their last choice.
The Skilled Gap Solutions
There are ways to plan on how plastic parts manufacturers and others can solve the skill shortage problem. They can start with:
Training Investment. This is to recognize the fact that highly skilled jobs need highly skilled workers. This is the first step in planning the right training module for employees.
ROI Adjustment. Publicly owned corporations must refrain from measuring the training investment over a short period. They must adjust their ROI systems to aid the training required to ensure a skilled workforce. Manufacturers need to view workforce training as an investment and not an expense.