Making sense of the manufacturing skills gap

By Geoff Sadow
January 30, 2020

Despite strong employment numbers overall, the outlook for the manufacturing sector remains a mixed bag. In 2019, manufacturing jobs increased by 46,000, well below the 264,000 positions added the previous year. But it’s not as if the jobs aren’t there.

Currently, there are about 400,000 openings in the sector, and studies expect a need for two million workers by 2025. Manufacturing careers pay about $15,000 more than the rest of the private sector, and manufacturing can provide job security and upward mobility like no other industry. So what’s the problem? It’s a familiar issue; advances in technology have created a classic example of the skills gap.

But regardless of the how, manufacturers still need to produce products and humans need to be a big part of the equation. One answer, giant companies like Toyota have committed to addressing this issue by training workers to operate advanced systems. And smaller businesses like Xometry have transformed their models to take advantage of the technology to assist their clients.

Another solution, companies seeking skilled workers have been looking to veterans to fill the void. Each year 250,000 service members enter the civilian workforce and organizations such as Workshops for Warriors are committed to assisting veterans and transitioning service members into advanced manufacturing careers.

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