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Hire Dynamics in the News: Why the Manufacturing Skills Gap Is Serious

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Why Not Manufacturing?
So what are the factors that keep this skill schism at such a meaningful size that we’re all still talking about it?
“There are significant opportunities and jobs within manufacturing that are not being filled. It’s about training and matching those skills with the jobs that exist,” says Bob McCutcheon, U.S. Industrial Products leader for the professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
“It’s also a perception issue,” he adds. “These are still some of the most technologically sophisticated jobs that we have, and many of these jobs are actually sitting in front of computer terminals, but public perception is still a few decades old. I think some manufacturers have work to do to change public perception, in order to attract and retain the talent.”
While the perception problem isn’t a new one, it’s now coupled with an aging baby boomer demographic — a group that’s well represented in manufacturing and retiring at a rapid rate. In a way, manufacturers are being held hostage by a Millennial generation that doesn’t find the industry appealing. Dan Campbell, 2014 chairman of the American Staffing Association and CEO of the staffing and professional recruitment organization Hire Dynamics, thinks there is a prevailing stigma that has resulted in Millennials being reticent to enter into some industries. “But these are outdated views,” he says. “We have thousands of open trades jobs at the same time as millions of jobless Millennials — who are facing twice the national unemployment rate.”

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