Manufacturers Must Retain and Attract Workers to Battle Ongoing Labor Shortage
As 2023 winds to an end and 2024 begins, it’s good to take a closer look at how manufacturers have been faring with the ongoing struggle to fill open positions. It’s no secret that manufacturers here and around the world have been battling a “skills gap” for years that has left hundreds of thousands of open manufacturing positions unfilled.
Has any progress been made? What is the current state of the manufacturing labor shortage? How can manufacturers increase the supply of highly skilled workers in both the near- and long-term future? These are a few of the questions we sought to answer as we enter the new year.
In a recent Plastics Machinery and Manufacturing article, author Karen Hanna summarizes a variety of recent manufacturing workforce studies, surveys, and employment statistics. Her conclusion? Data reveals an “ongoing labor shortage” that reveals a “need to attract, retain workers.”
Let’s begin with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports “there were 627,000 open jobs in manufacturing in September, based on preliminary data.” That’s an astounding number of unfilled positions, but it’s consistent with the struggles manufacturers have faced for years.
Unfortunately, it’s projected to get worse. How bad could it get? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects “933,000 job openings…in production environments between now and 2032.” That equates to an almost 50% increase in unfilled positions in the coming decade.
The manufacturing industry as a whole will need to find ways to lure more workers to careers in manufacturing. Increasing the overall supply of skilled labor probably seems like a tall order for most manufacturers, though. Perhaps the best thing individual manufacturers can do in the short term is to focus on “retaining workers and nurturing their skills to build their workforce.”
Hanna cites surveys conducted by the Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research that found “the most important factors for employees in considering whether to stay included” things like “company culture…stability/job security…enjoying the work/doing a job that makes a difference…flexibility/work-life balance…[and] opportunities to learn and advance.”
The same study also surveyed employers, who “reported the following as important retention tools: compensation…increased flexibility…additional training and professional-development opportunities…expanded benefits…diversity, equity and inclusion efforts…and involvement with volunteer organizations and their community.”
According to Hanna, many companies also reported offering additional perks, such as “tuition assistance…supervisor engagement and outreach…[and] information about available training.” While there is obviously a long way to go, the good news is that these surveys show that workers definitely place a high value on “being able to pursue learning and career advancement opportunities.”
That means manufacturers should not shy away from embracing employee training as a means of both retaining workers and providing them with the updated skills they need to be successful in the modern manufacturing workplace. Many manufacturers express reluctance to venture into employee training, fearing they lack the expertise to train employees effectively.
Fortunately, today’s manufacturers don’t have to be experts at training to implement a new program. The experts at Amatrol have been working hand-in-hand with industry for years to design training programs featuring eLearning curriculum and hands-on experience with trainers equipped with industrial components workers will encounter on the job.
Visit Amatrol online to learn more about its many different types of industrial training programs. For more information about how Amatrol can help you inspire and train the next generation of workers, contact an expert at Amatrol today!