Finding Talent Is Becoming a Challenge in Manufacturing

Finding Talent Is Becoming a Challenge in Manufacturing

It would seem that as the members of the Baby Boomer generation continue to slip into retirement, they’re taking something with them that manufacturing companies hadn’t counted on… talent.

Nearly half of the manufacturers who responded to the ASQ 2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey said that finding qualified applicants was their greatest hurdle when filling vacant positions. It would seem that the generation replacing the Baby Boomers in the workplace didn’t inherit their predecessors’ skills or abilities. Or perhaps they just didn’t apprentice, as generations past did, to learn what they needed to know.

Either way, manufacturers are being forced to find other avenues to fill these positions as they become available. Some are seeking out agencies, which generally screen applicants ahead of time so that employers know that they’re getting quality employees. Others are working with local colleges and teaching students the very skills they’re seeking for their own companies.

Talent gap notwithstanding, the ASQ Survey also turned up a few other insights into the manufacturing sector:

  • 25% of respondents said their biggest challenge is how long it takes to hire a new employee, while 17% cited the lack of budget to fill open positions
  • 37% said retirements aren’t likely to affect the organization; 34% said they will affect them greatly
  • 86% of manufacturers rely on on-the-job training; 17% require additional classroom training

Whether the retiring Baby Boomers will have a truly profound effect on manufacturers remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: things will never be the same.

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