woman using software in manufacturing

Report: Manufacturers are facing a worker shortage unless they invest in training talent now

U.S. manufacturing could need as many as 3.8 million new employees by 2033, according to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute

A new report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute (MI) says that the U.S. manufacturing industry will continue to grow post-pandemic, thanks to investments, government incentives, and evolving customer demand.

Despite the positive outlook, manufacturers have a big concern: finding and retaining workers with advanced digital skills.

The industry could need as many as 3.8 million additional workers between now and 2033, and they can and must invest in worker training now to fill those jobs, according to the Taking charge: Manufacturers support growth with active workforce strategies report

Digital Skills and Other High-Level Skills are In-Demand in Manufacturing

The report says that over the past five years, there’s been a 75% increase in the demand for “simulation and simulation software skills, sought mostly for technology-enables production and testing roles.

“Roles like statisticians, data scientists, engineers, logisticians, computer and information systems managers, software developers, and industrial maintenance technicians are likely to grow at the fastest pace.

“For production roles, the fastest growing are likely to be those that require higher-level skill sets like semiconductor processing technicians, machinists, first-line supervisors, welders, and electronics and electromechanical assemblers.”

Positioning for Success

Carolyn Lee is the president & executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “Manufacturers recognize that the workforce is evolving. Pandemic-driven shifts have already created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and now we are seeing increased demand for digital skills that need to be met or risk further widening of the talent gap,” according to Lee.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of the employers surveyed say filling open jobs and keeping them filled is their top concern.

The report goes on to say, “As the need for higher-level skills grows, Deloitte predicts that as many as five in 10 of the skilled open positions – 1.9 million jobs – could remain unfilled if manufacturers are not able to address the skills and applicant gaps.”

Employers are urged to invest in skills and strategies that “address the workforce’s evolving expectations, including flexibility and technology” if they are going to position themselves for success.”

John Coykendall is a principal of Deloitte Consulting and vice chair, U.S. industrial products and construction leader for the group.

“Developing talent – both from within the existing employee base and those newly entering the workforce – is important to keeping up with the pace of continued innovation. Companies who invest in upskilling the workforce through training, technology and policies that meet employee expectations are well-positioned for future growth,” says Coykendall,

Lee adds, “Companies must prioritize technology, training and talent development, and the investments that are driving growth will also require the industry to build out a talent ecosystem. With investments in partnerships, apprenticeships, and education, and prioritizing a more diverse and inclusive workforce, a whole host of new talent will be on the factory floor and driving the next wave of growth.”

The report goes into more details on how prioritize that training. You can read Taking charge: Manufacturers support growth with active workforce strategies here.

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