Manufacturers struggle to hire highly skilled workers

January 12, 2010

As employers across the country continue to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, many manufacturers are facing an ironic dilemma. As they eliminate positions — mainly repetitive, assembly-type jobs — they still have unfilled job openings for highly skilled workers.

According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, The Manufacturing Institute, and Oracle, "Almost one-third of responding companies report some level of shortages today."

These shortages of highly skilled workers are particularly acute within "the most profitable companies, aerospace and defense and life science sectors," and among "skilled production workers, scientists, and engineers."

Respondents to this survey also reported dissatisfaction with the skills of their current employees. Nearly half indicated many workers have inadequate basic employability skills, such as attendance, timeliness, and work ethic, while 46 percent reported inadequate problem-solving skills, and 36 percent indicated insufficient reading, writing, and communication skills.