U.S. skills shortage major threat to strong performance, says report


There are many bullish reports and articles on reshoring proliferating the B2B media, but hold those alongside the many reports and articles expressing manufacturing's concerns over lack of skilled workers, and you see one big reason why a reshoring success could be hampered.

A newly released study, Accenture 2014 Manufacturing Skills and Training Study, continued the mantra that a "shortage of skilled talent exists in the manufacturing industry, and this shortage is likely to become more severe in the coming years." To add to the severity of the situation, respondents to Accenture's survey reveal that there are almost no "unskilled" jobs left in manufacturing anymore. Thirty-five percent of the respondents surveyed said that 35% of the jobs at their plant are "highly skilled" and another 45% are "skilled." Only 20% are considered "unskilled."

More than 75% of the respondents reported having a moderate to severe shortage of skilled resources and over 80% of manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of highly skilled manufacturing resources. Welders are specifically in high demand, but even an entry-level welder "must master basic trigonometry, geometry, metallurgy and blueprint reading" noted the Accenture report. Skilled welders command between $40,000-$70,000 in annual salary, said Accenture.

Yet, I know a welder who goes to the gas and oil fields of North Dakota and works for six months (April through September), and earns more than $100,000. He returns to Phoenix in the fall and spends the winters here in Phoenix working at his passion as a tattoo artist. Not a bad gig for a 30-something guy with a high school education.
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