Manufacturing companies in the U.S. are facing a serious dilemma when it comes to hiring new employees: A lack of skilled workers. While some have simply lowered their expectations, others have remained dedicated to finding the most talented manufacturing employees to help fuel their business' growth, the Burlington Journal Times reports.
According to the news source, at the recent Racine County Economic Development Corp.'s annual celebration, keynote speaker Jennifer McNelly, of The Manufacturing Institute, outlined ways employers can increase their manufacturing staffing without sacrificing talent.
The celebration attracted more than 200 businesspeople, many of whom said they have experienced the growing skills gap that has resulted in a dearth of able and willing manufacturing workers.
"Everything at The Manufacturing Institute is grounded in research, with data," said McNelly, president of the Institute, which is a nonprofit extension of the National Association of Manufacturers, during her talk titled "The Talent Crisis: Building a 21st Century Workforce."
McNelly stated that there is a huge number of people with manufacturing experience, however with current trends in the industry shifting toward highly complex operations that use computers and other technology, some may be falling behind. This problem is expected to only get worse as scores of manufacturing jobs return from being outsourced to Asia, she said.
"It means we need to be ready," McNelly warned.
This resurgence in manufacturing jobs is expected to be confronted head-on, with an abundance of open positions still better than the alternative. According to Reuters, this manufacturing renaissance could ultimately bring about a new era of American-made products.
Martin Koffel, head of engineering company URS Corp, stated that the growing demand for manufactured goods will fuel greater manufacturing staffing in the U.S.
"There is once again a cachet about American-made products," the CEO told Reuters. "In some industries at some levels, there's going to be a Made in America advantage."
The return of American manufacturing will come as the labor cost advantage of outsourcing jobs will level off in the near future, which has come at the right time as inflation has remained low and labor productivity in the U.S. has soared.
Still, the growing skills gap will remain a challenge for manufacturing staffing agencies, as workers struggle to keep pace with constantly evolving factory practices.