Friday Focus: Tips to Help Middle Manufacturers Find Talent for Advanced Techniques
July 19, 2013
As more middle-market manufacturers adopt advanced techniques, they find better profitability and business growth. The major challenge with incorporating these specialized manufacturing techniques, ranging from automation to information technology, is a lack of workers with adequate skills, a detriment to business growth, according to new research by the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and the National Association Manufacturers (NAM), which highlights strategies to reverse the worker gap.
Reasons for leveraging advanced manufacturing techniques vary, but businesses report being most motivated by improvements in production output, improvement in turnaround time, and higher profitability. Indeed, the NCMM/NAM research notes that advanced techniques have had a positive financial impact on businesses, with middle manufacturers reporting a 20 percent increase in profitability over the past five years.The Advanced Technique Skills Deficiency Is Severe
One of the main barriers to adopting more advanced techniques is cost, but over a quarter of the mid-manufacturers surveyed admit that advanced manufacturing requires a different labor pool. Across all mid-manufacturers, the consensus is that production line workers are the most likely to lack the advanced skills that are necessary to get high-tech jobs done. Moreover, 74 percent of businesses using advanced techniques cite that the skills most lacking are in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), but primarily in science and mathematics.
The data that reflects the deficit is striking, with 93 percent of advanced technology users reporting a lack of workers with advanced skills.What Can Reverse the Skills Gap?
Manufacturers report that they are already taking steps in addressing the skills gap, with almost all reporting that they have shifted their recruitment strategies and more than half (57 percent) claiming that they regularly retrain new workers to prepare them for new technologies. Meanwhile, 31 percent said that they actively recruit workers with STEM skills.
The report breaks down several strategies that can help the 42 percent that still require new hires with tech skills, and those looking to add skilled people to their workforce, with strategies highlighted here. Some are presented below:
- Practice Flexibility
- Prioritize Training over Tech Investments
- Don’t Expect an Immediate Change
What do you think can reverse the skills gap when it comes to advanced manufacturing techniques? Share your advice with us below.