In our survey of over 1,100 U.S. manufacturers, skilled production positions such as machinists and technicians showed the greatest skills shortage, with 83% of companies reported moderate-to-serious shortages. Production engineers were next with 60% reporting a moderate-to-serious shortage followed by scientists and product designers at 50%.


Current Shortage

This skills gap is having a major economic impact on U.S. manufacturers. Over half of all companies surveyed stated that the lack of qualified workers was affecting their ability to maintain production schedules while nearly 75% report that the lack of skilled production workers was impacting their ability to expand operations.


Business Success

 Expand Operations

When manufacturers were asked what they expected over the next 3-to-5 years, 69% expected the availability of skilled production workers to worsen. Manufacturers also expect a greater challenge in hiring engineers, with 45% of companies expecting fewer qualified applicants.



To overcome this critical workforce challenge, U.S. manufacturers are going to have to develop new and better hiring practices. When asked what methods are currently used, over half of companies surveyed rely on word of mouth, while fewer than 15% use educational institutions like technical schools and community colleges.



U.S. manufacturers recognize that a skilled, flexible workforce is their greatest competitive advantage in the global economy. The Manufacturing Institute is dedicated to delivering workforce solutions through the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System and the U.S. Manufacturing Pipeline.


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