More than half of U.S. manufacturing companies reported a "severe shortage of highly skilled qualified applicants" in a 2014 survey conducted by Accenture and the Manufacturing Institute. If you include companies that reported a "moderate shortage," that percentage climbs to more than three-quarters of respondents. While that may be sour news for the economy as a whole, some companies have found a way to make lemonade. One of them is Phillips-Medisize, a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) headquartered in Hudson, WI, with a global footprint serving the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.
We keep hearing from our customers that it's difficult to find experienced quality people and that talent is hard to find, said Phillips-Medisize President and CEO Matt Jennings during a press conference at the MD&M East exhibition and conference in New York City earlier this month. Forty-three percent of U.S. manufacturing companies had unfilled positions for more than six months, and the situation is only marginally better across the pond, where 26% of companies surveyed by Manpower Group reported a lack of qualified engineering talent. To be fair, it's not just a dearth of skilled labor that has gutted the ranks of engineers among manufacturers; some of the misery is self-inflicted, even if it is rationalized by a changing economic environment.