Over the next 10 years, it is projected that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled. However, only 1.5 million workers will be available to take those jobs, leaving a whopping 2 million manufacturing jobs open (Source: The Manufacturing Institute). There are also expected to be shortfalls in skilled workers in the construction industry. So what’s contributing to this shortage in skilled labor and how can manufacturers work to fill it? Window & Door explored this multifaceted issue.
What is the Cause of the Labor Shortage?
The causes of the shortage are many. First, manufacturing jobs tend to have a bad reputation for being dangerous or outdated, with work that isn’t relevant to today’s workers. In reality, most of those hazardous and difficult jobs have been outmoded and automated.
Second, there has been a focus for many years on the importance of a four-year college education. Combine that with the lack of knowledge about the nature of these jobs and the high wages that many manufacturing and commercial construction employees, and the cause of the skilled labor shortage begins to become quite obvious.
So, what can manufacturers do to solve the shortage?
How to Address the Skilled Labor Shortage
In order to attract and keep skilled employees, manufacturers need to be proactive. Education is critical in addressing the labor shortage – both general education about the benefits of manufacturing careers and technical/vocational education for new students.
Refocus on Vocational Training
With the cost of traditional, four-year college rising fast, there is a unique opportunity to reach prospective students and entice them to consider a manufacturing or construction career. By highlighting programs that are affordable and that can lead to long-term career success, manufacturers and vocational colleges can work together to find and attract potential students.
Dispel the Myths
Many of today’s young workers are enticed by new technologies such as robotics and 3D printing. Highlighting these cutting-edge jobs will help to dispel myths that manufacturing work is outdated. To entice new workers, have video and demonstrable examples of technology front-and-center on your website’s hiring page.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeships lead to increased productivity, less turnover and, ultimately, more profits. With the rise of unpaid internships, an apprenticeship is a way for students to earn money while also honing their skills. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to get workers in the door – and to keep them there.
At St. Cloud Window, we work to develop a dedicated and skilled workforce, providing career opportunities in a wide range of disciplines related to architectural products manufacturing. Visit our careers page to learn more and apply.
At St. Cloud Window we know every project begins with a challenge or an idea of what a building might be. We bring that vision to life with our distinctive design aesthetics, precision performance, and design-to-delivery support. Learn more about how our products can deliver on your design objectives and site requirements here. Then, check out our full line of historic replica and acoustic window products, and get in touch for more details about any of our high-performing commercial window products.