Skills Gap Dramatically Slows Business Growth

All right, we know there is a great disconnect with high unemployment while thousands of skilled jobs go unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants. But just how bad is it?

A new report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute answers that with a "pretty bad." Here’s a short analysis from the State Science & Technology Institute and a link to the 16-page report.

American manufacturing companies cannot fill as many as 600,000 skilled positions — even as unemployment numbers hover at historic levels — according to Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing, a new report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute. This annual skills report provides a stark snapshot of the manufacturing sector’s inability to find qualified workers. Approximately 67% of survey respondents attribute the unfilled positions to a shortage of available, qualified workers. Unfilled jobs are mainly in the skilled production category positions (e.g., machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians).

The report also indicates that this shortage has an impact on the overall competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector. Approximately 64% of respondents report that workforce shortages or skills deficiencies in production roles are having a significant impact on their ability to expand operations or improve productivity.

To resolve these issues long-term, the U.S. must focus on the next generation by developing a skilled workforce that goes beyond the required skills (i.e., a solid math and science base). Respondents indicated that high schools should focus on strengthening students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Anytime we talk about this topic, I have to mention Ready Indiana, the Indiana Chamber’s workforce initiative, and its role in helping connect companies and employees with needed training resources.