Report Gives Dire Hiring Outlook for Manufacturing Sector

January 19, 2006 ( - The key finding of the "2005 Skills Gap Survey" put out by Deloitte is that US manufacturing companies are experiencing a shortfall of qualified workers which will result in a decrease of the ability of the US to compete in a global economy.

The survey, released in collaboration with the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute, found that more than 80% of manufacturers are experiencing a shortfall of qualified workers. Thirteen percent of survey respondents rated the shortage as severe, while 68% reported a moderate shortage of skilled workers.

Specifically, 90% of respondents indicated a moderate to severe shortage of qualified, skilled production employees including front-line workers such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, and technicians. In addition, researchers and scientists are in short supply, with 65% of manufacturers surveyed reporting a shortfall.

To add to the problem, more than half of survey respondents said their current employees are inadequate in the basic employability skills, such as attendance, timeliness, and work ethic. Forty-six percent said current workers had inadequate problem-solving skills, and 36% indicated employees were deficient in reading, writing, and communication skills.

The result of this lack of qualified, skilled workers? Eighty-three percent of respondents said the shortage in the workforce is affecting their ability to service customers. The survey found that the lack of a sufficient skilled workforce is affecting employers’ ability to maintain production levels consistent with customer demand (56%), to achieve productivity targets (43%), and to achieve or maintain target levels of customer service and satisfaction (33%).

The survey report suggests that to turn around the current dire hiring outlook for the manufacturing sector, employers need to focus on initiatives to reduce turnover of current employees and attract a new skilled workforce, including improving the negative image of manufacturing jobs as assembly lines, increasing training programs, and improving benefit and compensation packages.

The complete report is here .