The newsLINK Group - Filling the Gap
Editorial Library Category: Manufacturing Topics: Filling the Gap Title: Filling the Gap Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: In October 2011, 14 million U.S. workers were looking for a job. Almost 45% of them have been trying to land a job for more than half a year. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows the news; after all, more than two years after the Great Recession ended in June 2009, the economic mood is still pretty grim. Editorial: Filling the Gap 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 In October 2011, 14 million U.S. workers were looking for a job. Almost 45% of them have been trying to land a job for more than half a year. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows the news; after all, more than two years after the Great Recession ended in June 2009, the economic mood is still pretty grim. What most people seem to think is that the high-paying jobs have gone forever. The truth is a little different. Yes, some jobs have gone, possibly forever, from the U.S. Chances of getting a good job in the back office or on the floor of a factory floor are not great, although the odds have increased since China started raising its prices for labor and Japan has been forced to deal with its recent natural disasters. But jobs that require highly skilled workers, and that can draw a paycheck to match, are still available. This is especially true in a market sector that might surprise you: manufacturing. The unemployment rate is 8.4%, which is less than the general rate of 9.1%. According to Deloitte & Touche, the number of unfilled manufacturing positions is 600,000. Some 5% of all manufacturing jobs are going empty because companies can’t find anyone with the right skill set to hire. Siemens Corp., for example, is trying to find 3,000 new employees throughout the country. Those jobs offer an average salary of $89,000 per year. About 1,500 of these jobs require skills in subjects such as engineering, math, and science; the ones at the lowest levels can still earn as much as $30 per hour. Many other companies, looking for smaller numbers of new employees than Siemens, are finding that the average amount of time it takes to find a new hire is about seven months. In some cases, it takes at least nine months to find someone to fill a position. In 2010, 14% of U.S. employers were having a hard time filling their best jobs. The current number for 2011 is up to 52%. In other words, there is a real need for people with technical skills who can perform in the manufacturing industry. In particular, manufacturing companies want people who understand the technical side of the Internet. They want people who can operate machines and engineer solutions, and (to a lesser extent) they also want people who can sell. The Source of the Problem Why is it so hard to find the highly skilled employees needed for manufacturing jobs? Part of the problem is that many students who choose to attend a University also choose to avoid majors that are perceived as being too difficult. In 1980, 11.1% of all university graduates had used their time to study math, engineering, science, or some form of applied technology. In 2009, that number had dropped to 8.9%. Another part of the problem is that many employees with the right skill set are also older, and they are retiring in increasing numbers, taking their hard-to- replace skills along with them. The housing crisis has contributed; someone who is underwater on a house mortgage is not going to act the same way as someone without that problem. Homeowners who can’t afford to move are less mobile than they would otherwise be, meaning they are also less willing to relocate to a new place just for the sake of a job. Building a Solution The fact that people are capable of being trained in brand- new areas is key to solving the job shortage in manufacturing: Schools need to change to reflect the realities of today’s competitive, and technical, world. Professional engineering groups are offering more online training. Veterans are often able to take the training they received while in the military and transfer those skills into technical jobs.
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