IMEC is helping to bridge the manufacturing skills gap through an innovative new approach. The recently launched Skills Gap Analysis project is expected to help participating manufacturers plan their future workforce requirements and strengthen their communities. Recognizing the urgent need for a project like this in many Illinois manufacturers, IMEC’s president, Dr. David Boulay explains: “One of the biggest issues for managers in the manufacturing sector today is knowing what knowledge and skills workers will need beyond today’s work. We’ve seen the same series of events occur across many of our client companies: changing customer preferences lead to new products, which then leads to changing the way the work is done.”
Facing the reality that the current workforce is dwindling down due to the silver tsunami sweeping the industry, manufacturers have a hard time finding quality replacement. The silver tsunami refers to the large number of baby boomers who are retiring from the workforce. For manufacturers, this is the majority of workers – they are not only losing employees, but also years of acquired knowledge and skills. It is time have to get creative about finding and developing talent while riding the tsunami wave. The problem is the disconnect between the industry and the general public. Unfortunately, the next generation of workers has misconceptions about manufacturing and trade jobs.
The price of vacancy in the high-tech manufacturing industry is staggering, and while companies recognize this is a problem, the true cost has become such a part of the status quo that it is often overlooked.
Written by Andrea Belk Olson, MSC and CEO of Pragmadik
Using the Stay Interview for Retention and Culture Development
As companies are fighting for talent in a tight labor market there is a need for them to look at how they are retaining their best people and developing a culture that others want to join. Too many times managers are focused on the negative aspects of managing people and do not take the time to develop the talent that's right in front of them.
Today, departing employees are asked their opinions and experiences on their way out the door. These “exit” interviews can reveal some information about why people are leaving, however, the interviews are typically guarded and are certainly too late to affect retention. Instead, the "stay" interview is targeted at retention, exactly as its name implies. These simple conversations take the pulse of employees' current experiences, attitudes and opinions in a more routine cadence, enabling leadership to implement improvements before they have lost a valuable asset.
By 2025, nearly 25 percent of the United States population is expected to be 60 years of age or older. With this demographic preparing to exit the workforce and enter retirement, what can be done to retain their knowledge and pass it down to the next generation of employees? After all, a good portion of the knowledge that our “employee elders” possess is not written down or stored within a computer—it’s stored in their head. And this is especially true within the manufacturing sector.
A positive perception of manufacturing is critical for the future success of an organization's talent recruitment, development, and overall industry advancement. Craig Giffi and Michelle Drew Rodriguez, manufacturing experts from Deloitte, share the latest on advancing the image of manufacturing in celebration of MFG Day in America.
American public perception of manufacturing, and where Americans see the manufacturing sector is headed, is optimistic. That’s according to a recent study conducted by Deloitte, the National Association of Manufacturers, and The Manufacturing Institute.[i]
Written by Melissa Basa, IMEC Regional Manager
With more than 500,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the United States in recent years, much has been hypothesized and written about the cause(s). If we consider the words of Warren Buffet, who in 2013 told Fortune Magazine that America has built our prosperity using only 50% of our talent and left an entire gender out of the equation for most of our history, we see that a solution is very much within our reach. But balancing the gender equation and bringing more women into manufacturing doesn’t require the same approach as increasing the ranks of men. Let’s look at an example (or three) from my Alma Mater.
In 2016, Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering was the first US national research university to graduate an undergraduate class of engineers that was more than 50% female. Compare this to the national average that has yet to break 20%. But gender parity didn’t happen for Thayer overnight and it certainly didn’t happen without intentional cultural changes. I believe Thayer’s successes could be those of America’s shop floors as well.
Written by Lawrence Bouvier, CMRP
Vice President – Fuss & O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions
A large amount of industrial maintenance technicians are approaching retirement age – taking with them invaluable knowledge and experience. Today’s workforce entrants often have high school level vocational training and apprenticeship programs are nearly non-existent. All too often, employers try to fill this void with computer-based learning that focuses merely on craft skills. But hands-on practice is required to develop hands-on skills. Additionally, tradespeople need to understand more than basic craft skills; they need to be expert problem solvers with process knowledge specific to their companies. How do employers close the skills gap?
Written by Emilia Linardakis, Managing Partner - Language Advisors Network Group
Manufacturing is one of the most lucrative industries in the U.S. and there are about 251,857 manufacturing firms currently in the United States. Due to migration patterns, language and cultural diversity are becoming a theme in the majority of the workplaces. The manufacturing industry is one of the most diversified sectors of economy with a vast number of immigrant workers. 12% or 23.8 million immigrants work in the manufacturing industry. These workers have either no knowledge or very limited proficiency in English. The number of non-English speakers in the US has grown considerably in the last few years due to the influx of immigration levels that continue to increase drastically based on the Census Bureau. Foreign-born workforce is becoming a vital part of the US economy, especially in the manufacturing sector. National Census data shows that there are nearly 64.7 million U.S. residents who speak a language other than English at home; that makes about 21.5% of the total U.S. population. Approximately 46% of immigrant workers are considered limited English proficiency (LEP). Over the last two decades the types of jobs available for workers with limited English proficiency have changed. Many U.S. manufacturing jobs that used to be performed from LEP employees have now been outsourced.