Left unabated, the manufacturing skills gap — which is now anticipated to leave 2.1 million jobs unfilled by 2030 — could cost the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion. Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute’s new report, “Creating pathways for tomorrow’s workforce today: Beyond reskilling in manufacturing,” explores new and prevailing contributors to the skills gap and outlines important steps manufacturers can take to attract and retain skilled and diverse workers, especially women and underrepresented minorities (URMs).
According to the study, the pandemic outbreak initially erased\ approximately 1.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, undoing more than a decade of manufacturing job gains. While the industry was able to hire back 820,000 of these jobs by the end of 2020, the remaining 570,000 had not been added back, despite nearly 500,000 job openings. This is true despite a near-record pace of job openings in the sector. Executives surveyed reported they cannot even fill higher paying entrylevel production positions, let alone find and retain skilled workers for specialized roles.
The industry appears at a tipping point and should work quickly to change the perception of work in manufacturing for a new generation of workers as well as to diversify the talent pipeline entering the industry. To do so, manufacturers should proactively engage with potential talent pools and also revamp work-life balance, skills training and equitable career pathways to retain employees they cannot afford to lose.
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