Metal Center News

JAN 2018

Metal Center services the metal center and toll processor industry.

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Hiring and Training By Jonathan Samples, Associate Editor Pipeline to Potential W hen considering whether your com- pany is set up for long-term success, there's one unavoidable fact: people matter. Nobody understands this more than U.S. manufacturers, who rely on their employees for everything from innovation and produc- tion to sales and customer service. That's why ensuring the future viability of the workforce is a paramount concern of manufacturers and service centers alike. A 2015 study published by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Consulting found the vast majority of manufacturers agree there is a talent shortage throughout the industry. The report, which surveyed more than 450 manufacturing execu- tives, indicates as many as 2 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled over the next decade as a result of this growing skills gap. That shortage, compounded by negative percep- tions of manufacturing careers among younger workers and because older, more-skilled workers are beginning to retire, is now being felt by businesses far and wide. And service centers are no exception. Whether large or small, metal processors and dis- tributors are having trouble finding the right employees, particularly to fill the more highly skilled positions in- side their production facili- ties. "Our biggest struggles in the hourly workforce are finding maintenance people, tool and die folks, and weld- ers," says Jennifer Rohr- bacher, corporate recruiting manager at Worthington In- dustries, Columbus, Ohio. "People coming into the workforce now are quite skilled; they're just not aligned with the skills that we need. There's a huge gap be- tween what is actually needed in the workforce and what is available." According to the Manufacturing Institute's report, 82 per- cent of executives surveyed believe the talent shortage will affect their ability to meet customer demand. Reducing scrap, avoiding downtime and cutting turnover costs are just a few benefits of a well-trained and dedicated workforce. Despite these positives, companies are still struggling to fill the skills gap and develop new approaches to hiring, training and retain- ing the next generation of metal industry workers. John Hindman, director of learning and performance im- provement at Tooling U-SME, says that's because a lot of manufacturers have yet to fully appreciate the severity of the talent shortage and the potential impact it could have on their business. Whether they're minimizing recruitment efforts or relying on outdated learning and development programs, many companies have failed to adjust their hiring and training practices to be more aligned with the current generation. "We now have a young, in- experienced workforce that could be really good, but we need to make sure that we have programs in place to develop them to the stan- dards that we're looking for," says Hindman. The root cause of the skills gap is three-fold. Cur- rently, a large number of workers employed as ma- chinists, welders or in other skilled positions are ap- proaching retirement age. According to the U.S. De- partment of Labor Statistics, almost 27 percent of the workers in the primary met- 12 ❘ Metal Center News — January 2018 How manufacturing executives view the skills gap M 84 percent agree there is a talent shortage M 82 percent believe skills gap impacts their ability to meet customer demand M 78 percent believe skills gap impacts their ability to implement new technologies and increase productivity M 69 percent believe skills gap impacts their ability to provide effective customer service M 62 percent believe skills gap impacts their ability to innovate and develop new products M 48 percent believe skills gap impacts their ability to expand internationally M 37 percent would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career (Information courtesy Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Consulting) Measuring the Skills Gap

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