- The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has promised to train more than 1 million manufacturing workers over the next 5 years, joining other organizations in signing the Trump administration's Pledge to America's Workers. NAM's new commitment to training workers will help it address the industry's skills gap, the association said in a statement.
- There were 509,000 open manufacturing jobs in May 2019, which marked an all-time high for the sector, NAM said, citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2018 research by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte projected that more than 2 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2028.
- "With a record number of job openings right now — and many more expected over the next decade — the future of the manufacturing industry will be tied to the future of its workforce," Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee said in the statement.
The challenge for employers in manufacturing jobs, as with other sectors, is hiring workers with the right skills. A reported 90% of manufacturing companies have said they struggle to fill available positions. That may shift, as new information about Gen Z workers has indicated that they hold a more favorable view of manufacturing work. A recent study found that the generation is 7% more likely to consider manufacturing roles than the general population.
Labor shortages have also resulted in higher wages across sectors, with employers hoping to lure in more workers. In the manufacturing sector, ADP reported a 4.4% increase in wages in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year. Increasing wages may be one way to recruit more manufacturing workers, and others have looked to more investments in skills training. Stanley Black & Decker, for example, opted to build high-tech facilities from which to grow skilled labor pools. Earlier this year, NAM released a report that called for immigration reform as a possible partial solution to unfilled manufacturing jobs, noting that with more high-skilled workers coming in, fewer jobs would be left open.
As employers rethink their approaches to sourcing or training skilled workers, some have signed the Pledge to America's Workers, one of the Trump administration's job and training initiatives. Salesforce recently signed up with a promise to train half a million workers, free of charge, in tech-forward skills and soft skills through an online platform.