The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Deloitte Consulting surveyed 815 U.S. firms and found that more than half of manufacturers said 10 percent or more of their positions are empty for lack of the right candidates. The report concluded the majority of manufacturers are having trouble finding skilled workers to fill open positions.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 81 percent face “moderate” or “severe” shortages of qualified workers. The shortfall in skilled workers is especially high in trades such as welders and specialized machinists. NAM’s research division reported advancing technology used by manufacturers to remain competitive in global markets is raising the level of skills demanded, both among newly hired and a company’s existing work force.
Gaps on the factory floor could hasten the mass departure of jobs as more employers search for skilled workers outside the United States, according to the Journal. In addition, critics charge manufacturers have brought the problem upon themselves by cutting back on training programs and shifting work away from unionized locations.
“Employers complain about the lack of skills, but when you scratch deeper, it’s really any attitudinal issue,” said Northeastern University sociology professor Michael Handle. “It’s about how fast people will work or for how low a price.”