Survey shows 91 percent of manufacturers experiencing problems recruiting qualified employees

February 13, 2013

A new survey of 199 metalworking manufacturers published by One Voice, the joint federal advocacy program of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), underscores the severity of the skilled worker shortage. The manufacturers, who averaged 77 employees in 2012 (compared to 69 employees in 2011), supply components, tools, and other products and services to the agriculture, aerospace, appliance, automotive, defense, electronics, energy, medical, transportation, and other industries.

Highlights of survey results:

Workforce Development or Job Training Issues

  • 91 percent of surveyed manufacturing businesses are experiencing “severe” or “moderate” problems recruiting qualified employees with 42 percent reporting “severe” problems.
  • 69 percent of surveyed manufacturers currently have job openings.
  • To address the challenge of recruiting qualified employees, respondents reported using several different techniques—68 percent work directly with community colleges, vocational institutions;53 percent are using industry training centers; and 48 percent work directly with high schools.

Growth Predictions for 2013

  • On average, respondents to this survey report planning to hire eight employees in 2013—an estimated 10 percent workforce increase.
  • 60 percent of these small and medium sized manufacturing businesses anticipate increased sales in 2013 with more than 56 percent of those expecting a more than 10 percent increase in sales.


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