Editor's Note: Winning the War for Talent

February 12, 2014

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"The battle for great people is just getting started." That was the declaration Jim Ryan, CEO of Grainger, the industrial supplies distributor, made yesterday at an intimate media roundtable held at the 2014 Grainger Show in Orlando.

Even as countless efforts to reverse the manufacturing and technology skills gap are underway, the challenge to find qualified employees and new talent is only intensifying. In a networking session of manufacturers that I sat in on at the Grainger event, the skilled labor shortage was the number-one concern when it comes to internal operations. The laments were not atypical of those we've heard before: Why do kids get shoehorned into a four-year college system they might not fit in and come out with debt and no jobs, when they can make good careers in manufacturing? Why isn’t manufacturing being promoted better?

Let's be honest; this systemic issue will take years to fix, but manufacturers want a sense of real action being taken. And that has to come from the leaders at the top. As one manufacturer put it, "We need something broad to happen."

William Ng, Editor-in-Chief, wng@thomasnet.com.
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