Skills gap in manufacturing not as bad as thought

The skills gap facing American manufacturing has been viewed as a crisis by some observers, but a new study says the issue is not that severe and is not likely to thwart the sector’s revival.

Action needs to be taken now to stem problems that could threaten a renaissance, however, The Boston Consulting Group said.

The firm said the U.S. is short 80,000 to 100,000 highly skilled manufacturing workers. That’s less than 1 percent of the 11.5 million manufacturing workers in the U.S., and less than 8 percent of its 1.4 million highly skilled manufacturing workers.

Only seven states  show significant or severe skills gaps, the study found.  The shortages are caused by location and job classes.

“Shortages of highly skilled manufacturing workers exist and must be addressed, but the numbers aren’t as bad as many believe,” said Harold L. Sirkin, senior partner and coauthor of the research. “The problem is very localized. It’s much less of an issue in larger communities, where supply and demand evens out more efficiently thanks to the bigger pool of workers.

“Investment in training and skills development needs to be stepped up,” he said, “but there’s little reason to believe that the U.S. cannot remain on track for a manufacturing renaissance by 2020.”

12 comments Add your comment

Barack Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:37 pm

Barack Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:38 pm

Come on folks. Come get your free phones!!

Barack Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:39 pm

HOPE you don’t figure me out.

Barack Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:40 pm

Deficits ROCK!

Barack Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:41 pm

I will lead the manufacturing renaissance.

Barack Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:41 pm

Vote early…vote often!!

Michelle Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:42 pm

We should manufacture our free phones here in the United States.

Michelle Obama

October 15th, 2012
7:43 pm

I HOPE we bring our manufacturing jobs back from China.

Terrance

October 15th, 2012
7:45 pm

HOPE and LOVE Mr. President!!

Terrance

October 15th, 2012
7:47 pm

Bain caused our loss in manufacturing base. Romney closed our plants. He hates American workers. It is so obvious. HOPE!!

Bain Capital Managing Director

October 15th, 2012
9:58 pm

Good boy, Terrance. As a reward, I had my driver drop off the Morton’s scraps my dog wouldn’t eat at your trailer. You, Marla Mable, and the “young’uns” have a nice “supper.”

Jason Sprenger

October 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Although the report challenges the degree to which there is a skills gap, it establishes that there is one…and that it’s growing. Work must be done today to ensure the economy keeps generating adequate growth and production into the future, and that these skills gaps don’t get any worse.

One way this can be done is by investing in career and technical education (CTE), which has proven to boost student achievement and produce workers with the kinds of skills employers are looking for. Many communities across the nation are achieving great things with CTE, and their examples can be a model for the rest of the country. Businesses, educators, elected officials and students/communities all have a hand in making these efforts a success, and all need to be on the same page so that education produces the results everyone needs.

The Industry Workforce Needs Council is a new organization devoted to showcasing emerging skills gaps and advocating for CTE as a solution. For more information, or to join the effort, visit http://www.iwnc.org.

Jason Sprenger, for the IWNC