Manufacturing is in the middle of a new industrial revolution that requires skilled laborers. However, by most reports, many manufacturers lack enough of these well-trained employees, creating a worker shortage due to the skills gap—the difference between the skills manufacturers need and the skills job applicants have.
Companies are responding to the skills gap in numerous ways, seeking novel approaches to bridge the divide between the knowledge the workforce has and the knowledge they need.
Technology automates formerly routine processes, decreasing the need for workers who once did these jobs. Although manufacturers no longer need as large a workforce, they still need to find skilled laborers, ones who understand how to program and run a CNC or industrial robot. Although some work has been done toward addressing the skills gap, two out of every three companies don’t have a plan for remedying the problem.
Technology skills are only one facet of the skills gap—the lack of employment skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills also play parts in the shortage of available workers. To address the labor shortage, companies must focus on all three of these areas. This creates an opportunity for companies to devise multiple ways of correcting the problem. Because each company has specific needs depending on the technology used and the region, the means of closing the gap will differ. Here are five approaches that can help close the skills gap.