Tags: Qualified | Workers | Jobs | Lacking

Deloitte Survey: Qualified Workers, Not Jobs, Are Lacking

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 08:21 AM

A recent survey suggests U.S. manufacturing isn't being threatened by imports, but by the fact that because employers here can't find qualified workers, Thomas Hemphill and Mark Perry write in The Wall Street Journal.

In a survey of American manufacturers conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP, respondents reported that 5 percent of their jobs remained unfilled simply because they could not find workers with the right skills.

“That 5 percent vacancy rate meant that an astounding 600,000 jobs were left unfilled during a period when national unemployment was above 9 percent,” Hemphill and Perry say.

Editor's Note:Wall Street Whistleblower Warns of Meltdown, See His Uncensored Interview

Moreover, according to 74 percent of these manufacturers, work-force shortages or skills deficiencies in production positions such as machinists, craft workers and technicians were keeping them from expanding operations or improving productivity.

As Ed Hughes, president and CEO of Gateway Community and Technical College in Kentucky, accurately described the trend, "In the 1980s, U.S. manufacturing was "80 percent brawn and 20 percent brains, " but now it's "10 percent brawn and 90 percent brains."

This new trend, widely known as "advanced manufacturing," leans heavily on computation and software, sensing, networking and automation, and the use of emerging capabilities from the physical and biological sciences.

The private-sector driven Manufacturing Skills Certification System, embracing private-public partnerships with community colleges and trade schools, offers a relatively inexpensive path to meet the human capital demands of U.S. advanced manufacturers, Hemphill and Perry note.

“Output in manufacturing expanded by 4 percent in 2011, more than twice the 1.7 percent overall growth rate of the U.S. economy,” they say. “For manufacturers to continue this remarkable expansion, it's critical that our shortage of skilled workers be addressed.”

“We cannot afford to let this economic opportunity slip away.”

CNN Money reports that factory jobs have become both high tech and high salaried. An aspiring machinist—a popular factory job—can start training at 18 and then do a one-or two-year manufacturing apprenticeship. In five years, he or she could be making more than $50,000. In 10 years, that could double to $100,000.

Editor's Note:Wall Street Whistleblower Warns of Meltdown, See His Uncensored Interview

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