Manufacturers are fairly concerned about two things as 2016 nears: the economy and a lack of skilled workers, according to ASQ’s 2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey.
ASQ gathered responses from more than 900 individuals working in various manufacturing industries such as aerospace, medical device, and automotive, and found that 40 percent of the respondents believe that the economy will present the most difficulties for their company in 2016. In late 2014, ASQ conducted a survey in which 83 percent of manufacturers said they expected revenue growth in 2015. In contrast, 65 percent of those participating in ASQ’s survey projecting 2016 trends said they expect improvements in revenue.
Oddly, 61 percent of the surveyed think their company will increase its salaries, while 23 percent forested that wages will go unaltered in 2016. Just 2 percent believe that wages will go down at their organization. Staff reduction doesn’t seem to be a great concern either, as 19 percent said that they expect their organization to make staffing cuts.
The second greatest concern was a shortage of skilled workers, with 30 percent citing it as a dilemma. More specifically, just over half of the participants think a shallow pool of qualified applicants is the greatest issue when attempting to fill a job opening. In comparison, a quarter of the respondents said time causes the biggest issue when searching for an employee, followed by a lack of budget.
According to the survey, elongated job searches by manufacturing companies are still occurring despite the fact that 55 percent of the respondents said they have used a staffing agency to fill the void in the past. Also, 41 percent said they continuously work with the colleges that produce students majoring in fields relating to their company.
Not being able to find the correct fit for a vacant position is tough in itself—when you factor in the rate in which workers are retiring from manufacturing positions it makes the strain more overwhelming for some companies.
“With the baby boomer generation retiring and leaving manufacturers with vacant positions, the shortage of qualified applicants remains a clear concern for manufacturers,” said ASQ Chairperson Cecilia Kimberlin. “It’s pivotal that workers get the training and education they need to fill these roles and be successful in the high-tech manufacturing field — whether that’s through on-the-job training, or through an organization like ASQ.”
The survey suggests that the impact retirements will have in manufacturing in 2016 depends on the manufacturer, as 37 percent of the respondents said retirements probably won’t affect them, while 34 percent said it will have a sizeable impact on the organization. Similarly, 37 percent of the participants don’t expect a drop off in quality due to retirement, while 33 percent said their services will be negatively impacted by retirement-induced turnover.
Regardless of industry, many careers require some sort of on-the-job training when an employee first begins their profession. Manufacturing is no different according to the survey, which found that 86 percent of respondents need new employees to receive such teaching. Nearly 20 percent said that new employees are given supplementary classroom training paid for by the company.
Some of the other problems that respondents identified include “poor management,” “gap in product pipeline,” keeping up with the growing company,” and “market competition.
ASQ, which provides training, certification, and knowledge-based resources intended to improve the efficiency of companies, conducts a “Manufacturing Outlook Survey” each year.
Filed Under: Industrial automation