Small, medium-sized manufacturers expect labor issues to persist, survey shows

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 181 views 

More than three-quarters of manufacturers with less than 500 employees expect to continue struggling to find skilled workers, according to a new survey.

The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research and national CPA and advisory firm BKD released Thursday (Feb. 11) the results of their first survey of small and medium-sized manufacturers asked to describe the “new normal” for operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following are some of the key findings:

  • More than 77% expect to continue to struggle to identify talent in 2021 and beyond.
  • Nearly 64% had reevaluated what work could be done remotely where possible.
  • More than 83% had enhanced workplace safety measures and requirements.

“It may seem like a paradox, but even with pandemic-induced unemployment, manufacturers are still facing challenges finding the workers they need,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers and director for the Center for Manufacturing Research. “With about half a million jobs open in manufacturing, that need is great — perhaps even greater than before the pandemic. These findings continue to demonstrate the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s efforts to reduce the skills gap and get more people onto modern manufacturing career paths — including through its Creators Wanted campaign with the National Association of Manufacturers.”

Moutray said the survey also shows the “diverse ways that small and medium-sized manufacturers have adapted to the pandemic — and what they expect in the coming months.” The survey includes manufacturers’ thoughts on the future, from virtual work and flexible schedules to new product lines and price pressures, he added.

“BKD is proud to partner with The Manufacturing Institute on this survey,” said John Mather, national industry partner for BKD. “It is clear the pandemic has had a significant impact on small and medium-sized manufacturers. Not all the impacts are the same, and the results show a variety of concerns. With that in mind, The Manufacturing Institute continues to play an important role in assisting these businesses with their challenges. Creators Wanted is a great example of how The Manufacturing Institute is making an impact.”

By 2025, the Creators Wanted campaign seeks to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27%.

Link here for the survey.

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