Solutions to the manufacturing industry’s talent shortage

A recent survey by Ernst and Young revealed that a lack of skilled talent is the second biggest risk for the metal manufacturing and mining industries both this year and next.

An earlier report by Skills Australia and Deloitte Access Economics further underscores this finding, pointing out that the country’s minerals industry will need to add an additional 86,000 workers over the next decade just to keep its current share of the international market.

Australia is not alone; other countries facing a skills shortage include Canada, South Africa and the United States. Reasons cited by industry professionals on why manufacturing talent is so hard to find include a lack of skills and experience; a dearth of good training programs; and a lack of interest by Generation Y – the next generation of workers.

As an interesting aside, the Ernst and Young report found manufacturing to be particularly unappealing to Generation Y females.

Because there is such a shortage, many employers are understandably focused on keeping their current employees happy, especially when it comes to tangibles like salary.

However, it’s becoming increasingly important to be able to function competitively on the global stage, especially on bottom-line items like salary and healthcare benefits.

This could very well lead to an interesting balancing act for industry leaders – one of retaining the best talent they currently employ, while at the same time investing in and training new workers.

One place to start to fill this talent gap is by targeting Generation Y. As this demographic is projected to increase significantly over the next two decades, the talent pool is there.

If manufacturing is going to get their slice of this “workforce pie” they must start implementing systems and policies that will attract them now.

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