"Despite the perception that U.S. manufacturing jobs are scarce, the undeniable trend is that skilled workers will be in very short supply in coming years," said ATS President Jeffrey Owens. "What's more, while much of the political debate centers around healthcare and basic or higher education, what matters to most manufacturing employers is vocational training."
The online survey, completed this month, found that two in three respondents agree that a robust training program is key to the future of U.S. manufacturing, and 90% feel high schools are not doing enough to prepare students for non-college careers. Executives stated that discrete (product-centric) manufacturing, electrical equipment manufacturing and motor vehicle parts manufacturing are the top areas most affected by the nascent labor shortage.
Other top findings from the survey:
- Among CEOs taking part in the survey, the estimated per-company cost of the skilled labor shortage is even higher: $63 million, on average.
- Most costs will be incurred in training and recruiting, followed by problems caused by lower quality and resulting decreases in customer satisfaction.
- 20% of respondents currently have more than 15 job openings on their factory floor. Over twice as many (41%) anticipate having more than 15 such job openings within five years.
- On the question of how important production machine maintenance is to achieving lean manufacturing, "very important" was checked by nearly 70% of those surveyed.
- On a positive note, 77% of surveyed executives agreed that the technical skills of U.S. military veterans transfer well to today's manufacturing needs.