Posted on 4/27/2016

Manufacturers Are Unprepared for Growing Skills Gap

Jeannine Kunz

Back in 2011, as part of our Mission Critical: Workforce 2021 initiative, Tooling U-SME sounded the alarm that the future success of manufacturing is at risk by the end of the decade if industry does not address the growing skills gap. 

To assess and gauge a company’s performance related to this challenge, we introduced a one-of-a-kind “Readiness Assessment” tool. 

We asked manufacturers a series of questions about their companies’ knowledge retention, readiness of future skill requirements and the status of employee development programs to see if they were ready for the talent crisis ahead.

We are already halfway to the year 2021 and the news isn’t good. Responses from five years of insights from the Readiness Assessment show there has been little advancement.

Only a very small number of world-class organizations are prepared for the extreme talent gap predicted by the year 2021. At Tooling U-SME, we call them Visionary companies.

This causes us concern — both about the competitiveness of manufacturers and the economic health of our nation. 

We know that manufacturers across the country struggle to find the workforce they need. According to our Readiness Assessment Update, nearly 9 out of 10 respondents (88%) said that their company is having problems finding skilled workers in manufacturing. 

Yet here are some troubling findings:

  • Only 4% agree that their company does an excellent job in consistently delivering the right training and development programs throughout the organization.
  • 33% say their job-related training options are minimal.
  • 75% say their company doesn’t offer a structured training program on manufacturing skills.
  • 76% say that the training their company provides its manufacturing employees is not adequate to meet the needs of the organization going forward.

Why is there so little action, especially when we know a well-trained workforce is a competitive advantage for companies, driving innovation, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity and growth?

Taking basic steps now can help you avoid not having the right – or enough – skilled workers to meet customer demands. To ensure the health of your business and the manufacturing industry, the time to act is now.

We invite you to take the Readiness Assessment at If you have questions, give us a call at 1-866-706-8665. We are dedicated to helping build the capabilities of the manufacturing workforce.

About the Author

Jeannine Kunz | Tooling U-SME

Jeannine Kunz is the Director of Tooling U-SME, where she leads a team dedicated to the ongoing enhancement of manufacturing personnel. A recognized expert in the field of professional development and training, her vision and dedication have put Kunz at the forefront of workforce management issues as she provides forward-thinking educational innovations and solutions for companies, academia and individuals. 


Related Blog Posts:

Center for Automotive Research

Stay in Touch

Subscribe to Automation Alley's emails and stay up to date on all things Industry 4.0!

Submit your online membership application and begin growing your business.