New Tooling U-SME Workforce Report Shows Not Enough Being Done to Address Manufacturing Workforce Challenges

CLEVELAND, Sept. 11, 2018 — (PRNewswire) — Tooling U-SME, the leading provider of manufacturing training solutions, has released its latest workforce study, the Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Report. The study exposes some disturbing revelations: the manufacturing skills gap continues to hinder large portions of the industry and represents a significant impediment and threat to manufacturing growth and the adoption of new technologies.

Tooling U-SME logo (PRNewsFoto/SME)

The new Industry Pulse report highlights the most pressing training and development pain points manufacturers encounter today, and the challenges they will face in the next three years. According to the report, the top business challenges for manufacturers are finding, upskilling, and onboarding talent -- even for most otherwise successful companies. Manufacturers recognize the challenge of the skills gap, but far too many fail to upgrade or change their workforce development and training from what they've always done. Overlooking this vital factor, which in large part is under their own control, exacerbates the problems posed by the skills gap and retiring workforce.

"Manufacturing is in the midst of a new industrial revolution that requires a workforce equipped with new, advanced technology skills. Putting learning and development on the back burner is not an option for companies that want to succeed in today's ever changing and increasingly competitive world," said Jeannine Kunz, vice president, Tooling U-SME. "Leaders, including senior executives and management, must make their workforce a strategic priority if they want their companies to maximize growth."

Key findings from the Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Report reveal some jarring realities for manufacturers as the 2020s approach:

  • The overwhelming majority of manufacturers say they will face significant challenges developing a skilled workforce in the next three years: finding experienced new hires (99 percent); upskilling the incumbent workforce (92 percent); and onboarding new employees (84 percent).
  • Despite the clear need for stronger training and development, only two out of five manufacturers (41 percent) agree their company trains people to develop skills.
  • Retaining trained employees is also a challenge; two out of five manufacturers (43 percent) average 20 percent or higher annual turnover.
  • Respondents blame lack of management commitment and resources – i.e., funding, time, and training – for not investing in workforce learning and development.

Even in the face of these challenges, companies can execute strategies now to ward off the skills gap – e.g., developing a strong onboarding process, instituting a formal training program, encouraging continual education, and properly upskilling those responsible for training workers will help companies maintain a highly-skilled workforce.

"It's imperative that manufacturers start now to train their employees – and their trainers – effectively, so these workers fully understand how to use equipment and technology to their fullest, as well as improve processes and generate new ideas," adds Kunz. "With proper training, manufacturers can greatly impact their hiring, onboarding and retention."

Findings from Tooling U-SME's Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Report could be discouraging; however, companies can take matters into their own hands to ramp up the workforce and improve their key performance indicators.

For additional insights and best practices for developing a skilled workforce, click here.

Download the  Industry Pulse Report infographic.

About Tooling U-SME

Tooling U-SME delivers versatile, competency-based learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community, working with thousands of companies including more than half of all Fortune 500® manufacturing companies, as well as 600 educational institutions across the country. Tooling U-SME partners with customers to build high performers who help their companies drive quality, productivity, innovation, and employee satisfaction. Working directly with hundreds of high schools, community colleges, and universities, Tooling U-SME is also able to help prepare the next generation workforce by providing industry-driven curriculum. A division of SME, an organization that connects people to manufacturing solutions, Tooling U-SME can be found at or follow  @ToolingU on Twitter.

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Company Name: Tooling U-SME
Oneika Mobley, Tooling U-SME, O: 313.425.3189, M: 313.728.9496, E: Email Contact

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