Manufacturers Continue to Look for Educated, Skilled Workers

Manufacturing Skills Gap Image

Even though the latest report out of Washington finds a slowdown in factory job growth, a number of manufacturers say they are still having a difficult time finding workers with the right qualifications on their resumes to fill a number of open positions.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), factory payrolls declined by 15,000 workers in August, which is the biggest decline in manufacturing jobs in two years. However, recent data from the Conference Board, which measures labor demand across all industries, shows that there has been a steady increase in job openings for skilled trade workers over the past 7 years. Just in the last 3 years alone, postings for manufacturing jobs have increased significantly – by 152%.

What’s clear from the data is that there is a pick up in [manufacturing] hiring and the biggest swath of job openings is the central part of the United States, June Shelp, vice president at the Conference Board, told CNN.Therefore it would stand to reason that if you are a job seeker looking for work in the trades, it should be easy to land a secure position.

However, it does appear that companies are not willing to hire workers without the right skills and education – which may mean you may have to go back to school to learn about how the industry has changed over the past few years.The Conference Board found that employers are looking to hire machinists, tool-and-die makers, welders and computer aided machine operators for companies that range from small plants that manufacture parts for larger businesses to large assemblers in the auto, industrial metals and aerospace industries. And these jobs come with good pay as well, ranging anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000 per year or more depending on demand.

You can still maintain a middle-class living, believe it or not, as a welder, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilary Solis said during a recent visit to Detroit. “There has been a PR effort that has somehow convinced people that it’s not good to work with your hands.”In order to land one of these good jobs in manufacturing, you may not need to attend a 4-year college. Many of these positions require applicants to have specific technical training or a 2-year associate’s degree in a related field. If you have a background in high-tech, you may also  want to consider transferring your skills into emerging fields such as alternative energy, nanotechnology, medical device and pharmaceuticals and automotive electronics.

Taking an online aptitude test will help you determine which industries you can transfer your skill to, or if you will need additional postsecondary training.

– What your resume should include

If you are looking for a management position, an impressive resume for the manufacturing industry should  nclude qualifications such as operations, logistics, supply chain and sourcing, strategic planning and marketing.For those of you who are just starting out in the business, you will want to include your basic knowledge of manufacturing such as your ability to read and use certain tools devices, your organizational and planning skills, as well as your past or current education.

– Where the jobs are

If you are willing to relocate, you should also include that on your cover letter. Although the industry is expected to continue to flourish over the next decade across the country, with demand for welders for example expected to increase 15% through 2020, the Conference Board found that the states with the biggest demand for skilled workers currently are Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Illinois, California and Indiana.

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