Beating the Manufacturing Skills Gap in 2019

The manufacturing sector is one where job growth is a strained situation. Manufacturing companies are having a hard time filling the positions needed. And, with the growth seen in this sector, it will mean more jobs available. We’ve seen positive changes such as tax reform and lower unemployment over the past year. These changes are making it even harder to fill job openings. Moving into 2019, the manufacturing skills gap needs to be top of mind. This year, companies need to be looking for ways to deal with job growth that will meet their needs.
Positive Changes
The current data on job analysis provides a positive outlook for 2019. Job growth is on the rise and the need for blue-collar workers and manual labor is at an all-time high. Sectors that haven’t seen wages raised in years are now looking at increased pay. Factories are hiring more workers and are producing more goods. But how will these changes effect manufacturing, particularly when it comes to employment?
Qualified Workers Are Scarce
The skills gap is one reason filling manufacturing positions has become difficult. Many sectors, such as the construction industry, need blue collar workers. But the need for workers with a narrow skill set is declining. Companies are looking for employees with broader skill sets. These workers are able to cross over from niche areas into the more current Industrial 4.0 skills.
Not only are workers scarce that have the desired skill sets but an aging workforce is part of the problem. Throw in the fact that drug use is also decreasing the worker pool and you have a serious problem. How can companies handle the manufacturing skills gap?
Automation Can Help
Enter robotics and automation. Almost every manufacturing company could automate some jobs. Also, they are almost certain to have jobs that can’t be filled by a machine. Then, actual workers can take on reasoning and leadership positions. Automation is the future, and it doesn’t mean fewer jobs for people as is often thought. It means using workers where they’re most needed.
Apprenticeship Programs
Apprenticeship programs have had excellent results in Germany for decades. America is finally grasping the need for good apprentice training. Manufacturing companies are working with colleges and starting apprenticeship training programs. These programs are making inroads into a solid future for their company. As a result, a younger well trained workforce, with the needed skills, is ready to enter the job field.
Retraining Workers
Another way to handle the skills gap is to provide retraining programs. This could include pulling from current employees with the business, or the unemployed. Training could entail adding digital and computer training into what they already know. With a bit of “retooling”, these workers could have the skills to be ready for Industry 4.0.
2019 Is Looking Strong
Manufacturing companies will make a huge difference in 2019.  It’s looking to be a strong year. However, this remains true if businesses can meet the manufacturing skills gap challenge. Meeting these challenges head on will mean more jobs within the U.S. and solid business growth. 
Radley can help your business run as “lean” as possible. Streamline processes and automate workflows to meeting the challenges of 2019. Get started with solutions like directed picking, bar code data collection, or EDI. Contact a Radley product specialist today for your free consultation.