February 3, 2020

Skills Gap Is Real, But Manufacturing Sector Is Creating Training Programs To Address It

According to new surveys by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and The Manufacturing Institute, the manufacturing sector continues to struggle to find workers with the skills needed to fill jobs that are available, but employers are willing to invest significant capital to try to address the problem. (The Manufacturing Institute is the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).)

Specifically, a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City survey of manufacturers found nearly two-thirds of companies (62 percent) reported a worker shortage. The report noted that manufacturing wages have been rising faster than in other industries.

The Manufacturing Institute found that manufacturers most likely spent at least $26 billion last year (2019) on training programs for new and existing manufacturing employees. Nearly 80 percent of manufacturers said they have increased their workforce training efforts in an effort to combat the skills gap. Three-quarters of respondents said that upskilling workers helped to improve employee productivity, with promotion opportunities and morale also leading the list of reasons why companies might want to create new training programs.

The study also noted that the most recent NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey found the skills gap was the top primary business challenge facing manufacturers. In fact, nearly 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2028 if measures aren’t taken to train new employees.

Click here to read the full report and to learn more about how manufacturers are working to address this issue.