An increasing number of manufacturers are finding it difficult to find qualified applicants to fill open positions, according to ASQ’s 2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey.
ASQ conducts its Manufacturing Outlook Survey annually to gauge manufacturing professionals’ views on the year ahead. Respondents represent a multitude of industries, including aerospace, automotive, food, and medical devices.
As revealed in the survey, 51 percent of respondents said a lack of qualified applicants is the greatest hurdle they face when hiring for vacant positions, up from 44 percent in 2011. Furthermore, 25 percent of respondents said their biggest challenge is the time it takes to hire a new employee, while 17 percent cited a lack of budget to fill open positions.
However, manufacturers aren’t sitting idle—with 55 percent of survey respondents revealing that they have hired an agency to help find skilled applicants, and 41 percent having worked with local colleges on programs that teach the skills they need.
According to ASQ Chair, Cecilia Kimberlin, as the baby boomer generation retires and leaves manufacturers with vacant positions, the shortage of qualified applicants remains a clear concern for manufacturers.
“It’s pivotal that workers get the training and education they need to fill these roles and be successful in the high-tech manufacturing field—whether that’s through on-the-job training, or through an organization like ASQ,” Kimberlin said.
The Impact of Retirement
Manufacturers are divided on the impact that retirement of staff will have on their organizations in 2016, with 37 percent saying the issue isn’t likely to affect their organization, and 34 percent saying retiring employees will greatly affect their organizations.
According to the results, 37 percent of respondents expect no change in quality due to retirements, while 33 percent say product or services will be adversely impacted as a result. Only six percent expect quality to increase.
Regardless of the perceived impact retirees have on their organization or quality, the overwhelming majority rely on on-the-job training to transfer knowledge from retiring workers to new employees.
And while 86 percent of manufacturers rely on on-the-job training, 17 percent require additional, company-provided classroom training and nine percent require classroom training through a third-party.
Waning Confidence in the Economy
In late 2014, manufacturers expressed confidence in the economy, with 83 percent expecting revenue growth in 2015. However, that level of confidence seems to have subsided, only 65 percent of manufacturers anticipating an increase in revenue in 2016, according to the latest survey data.
While 83 percent of manufacturers expected increased revenue in 2015, only 65 percent experienced a revenue increase, according to the survey.
Further to this, 40 percent of respondents cited the economy as their organization’s greatest hurdle in 2016. Thirty percent said the shortage of skilled workers will be the greatest challenge for their organization.
Other hurdles identified by respondents include, “keeping up with the growth of the company,” “poor management,” “gap in product pipeline,” and “market competition.”
Despite waning confidence in the economy, 61 percent of respondents expect their organization to increase salaries, while 23 percent expect a wage freeze, and two percent expect to see a reduction in wages. Further to this, 19 percent of manufacturers expect their organization to reduce staff, with 81 percent expecting their employees to maintain current staffing levels or hire additional staff.
Photo Credit: This photo, “Help Wanted” is copyright (c) 2013 Alachua County and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.