U.S. employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled candidates to fill open jobs, creating the “skills gap.” A June 2013 report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projected that 2.6 million jobs in science, technology, engineering and math will need to be filled between 2010 and 2020. Source: Press release of the National Network of Business and Industry Associations

A Shortage of Manufacturing Talent:

A 2011 Deloitte survey of 1,123 executives conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reported:

  • 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs remain unfilled.
  • 82 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled production workers.
  • 75 percent of manufacturers say the skills shortage has negatively affected their ability to expand.
  • The Aging Manufacturing Workforce:
  • The median age of the manufacturing workforce rose from 40.5 years in 2000 to 44.1 years in 2011.
  • The average age of a high-skilled worker* is 56.
    • Workers with technical training and industry certification, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a manufacturing-related field.Leadership wanted: U.S. public opinions on manufacturing
    • Source: U.S. Department of Labor
  • When asked which industries are most important to the national economy in rank order, manufacturing is at the top of the list, above energy, health care, technology or financial services. Moreover, 90 % indicate that America’s manufacturing base is “important” or “very important” to our standard of living and economic prosperity.
  • While the U.S. public registers a strong belief in the importance of manufacturing for the country’s economy and Americans’ prosperity, when it comes to choosing manufacturing as a career choice, they place it near the bottom of the list. Out of seven key industries, manufacturing ranks fifth as a career choice. Only 35 % indicated they would encourage their children to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry. In addition, when asked if their parents encouraged them to pursue a career in manufacturing, only 17 % responded in the affirmative.
  • Forty-nine percent of respondents feel students today are qualified to pursue careers in manufacturing, and nearly the same number (47 %) feel elementary, middle, and high schools have some responsibility for the creation of America’s next generation of skilled workers. And only half of all respondents (49 %) believe their local school system exposes students to the appropriate skills required to pursue a job in manufacturing. More troubling, however, are survey results that reveal only 20 % of Americans feel the schools in their communities encourage students to pursue careers in manufacturing.Sponsored by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute