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What's with the technician shortage? (And what you can do about it)

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I hear it in meetings and at industry conferences; with both our longstanding and new customers - there's a shortage of skilled technicians right now in manufacturing. More manufacturers are going digital at a wider scale and faster pace than ever before, leveraging machines to do more of the work. This is creating a skills availability crisis as organizations navigate an incredibly tough workforce landscape. Do you have the right skills in your workforce to continue optimizing your processes along your automation journey?  

Of the fastest growing manufacturing occupations in the next 10 years, 5 out of the 6 require a skillset that spans human and technology aspects, many of which will be Skilled Technical roles.  

Whether you call them "new collar, " “gray collar,” or "skilled-technical," these jobs are the ones that bridge the gap between manufacturing processes and high-end digital capabilities. Often these roles require a high level of technical knowledge, but not a 4-year degree. Not only that but they offer family-supporting wages upwards of $55,000-$80,000+ depending on the specialization and the location.  

Technicians are in high demand  

I wish I could tell you that the demand is softening, and you will be able to once again easily find technicians to fill your open roles and keep your company's production plans moving forward, but as of now, that is not what we are seeing in the marketplace. 

Technicians of nearly every kind are in demand but we are seeing some of the highest demand for the following kinds of technicians:    

  • Maintenance Technicians  
  • Quality Technicians  
  • Manufacturing Technicians 
  • Automation Technicians
  • Engineering Technicians   

Building a skilled technical workforce  

It is expected that 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled by 2030, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor statistics. As manufacturing continues to become more digital, we expect that jobs will require people with increasingly more advanced and specialized technical training, exacerbating the skills shortage. Intervention is needed now. Manufacturers continue to struggle to find the talent they need in the market, and they are realizing this is an issue that needs to be fixed from the inside out. So they are setting out to do what they do best – build it.   

Some ways manufacturers are upskilling and reskilling their workforce include accelerated training programs and apprenticeship programs. Let's be real – It costs a lot to source, recruit, retain and develop a highly skilled manufacturing workforce so many companies are taking a blended approach: in addition to acquiring ‘best fit’ talent from the marketplace, they are turning to workforce and training partners to help them establish internal programs at speed and scale to create a strong talent pipeline and build on the talent they already have in-house.  

Spotlight: Academy of Advanced Manufacturing  

One example is the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing (AAM), a partnership between Rockwell Automation and Manpower to not only bridge the manufacturing skills gap but also harness the expertise of U.S. military veterans by upskilling them for high-demand technology-based manufacturing roles. With AAM, manufacturers get to add a well-trained professional to their workforce with the level of technical aptitude and knowledge they need to contribute from day one. Our U.S. military veterans gain additional critical, lucrative skills through a 12-week training curriculum with the promise of a well-paid civilian job that sets them on a path for financial success and career growth, at no cost to them.   

Spotlight: Manpower Acceleration Program (MAP) - Advanced Manufacturing  

Manpower has partnered with Tooling U-SME to offer acceleration programs focused on manufacturing. Users gain access to courses and can move through the content at their own pace. The objective is to build the high-skill talent manufacturers need in ever increasing numbers. In doing so, we are creating lucrative career pathways for individuals in jobs such as Manufacturing or Engineering Technician, Fluid Systems Technician, Aerospace Technician and more.  Skills are acquired as they both learn and work – and at no cost to eligible Manpower Associates.   

For even more guidance on how to recruit, attract and retain a skilled technical workforce, read: The Changing Face of Manufacturing: Why Skilled Technical Talent Is the Key to Growth and How to Win the Race for That Talent.  

Rebekah's Recommendation:  Get Help from a Workforce Partner  

If you're trailing your competitors in your strategy to fill your talent pipeline, the time to act is now. But one misstep that many employers make is  trying to do it all on their own.  To accelerate your pace and even leapfrog the competition, I recommend connecting with a manufacturing workforce expert (like Manpower) to gain access to the skilled talent you need today for your temporary and permanent roles, while also tapping into our expertise on the kinds of upskilling and reskilling programs that can benefit your organization for the long term.  

Talk with us today.  

Contact Us

Our workforce and staffing solutions deliver the in-demand skilled technical talent you need to advance your growth initiatives. Contact us to talk more about how Manpower Skilled Technical can get to work for your organization.

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