America's looming skilled labor shortage is predicted to cost the country's largest manufacturers at least $100 million dollars each over the next five years, according to results of a survey commissioned by Advanced Technology Services, Inc. (ATS) and conducted by AC Nielsen.
In the survey of 94 senior manufacturing executives, with titles of CEO, CIO, Vice President and Plant Manager, ATS asked: Forecasts indicate that during the next five years, approximately 40% of your skilled labor force will retire. What do you anticipate the retirement of 40% of your skilled labor force will cost your company in these five years?
Of the 20 respondents with more than $1 billion in revenue, one-third predict their cost to top $100 million in the next five years. The shortage is caused by a combination of factors, including the imminent retirement of baby boomers, fewer apprenticeship programs and fewer high school graduates pursuing manufacturing skills. Companies say they will need to invest heavily in recruiting and training replacements.
"The looming skilled worker shortage is an unwelcome threat to the nation's manufacturing base that needs to be addressed at multiple levels, from better educating the next generation of factory workers to improving the public's image of plant work," said ATS President Jeffrey Owens. "Our most modern and cutting edge plants can be more productive and profitable by deploying highly skilled employees that make their production machinery run better."