CT Staffing and Recruiting News

The latest advice and best practices in hiring and careers.

Connecticut Manufacturing & the Skills Gap (why production jobs continue to move to China)

Although the country is awash in unemployed light industrial workers, Connecticut manufacturers that are hiring again are finding that few candidates actually have the skills they need.

With so many people still unemployed, how is it that qualified workers are so hard to find?

According to an August, 2012, Workforce.com article by David Ferris, we’re partly to blame for creating our own dilemma.  As a nation, we are the world’s most productive manufacturers (producing 21 percent of the world’s output) and have done so by creating high-quality products on highly automated production lines.

This automation, however, has drastically reduced the need for entry-level workers with little education.

Today’s production jobs demand more math and science than most Americans possess. The skills gap has been widening for decades, but several trends are converging to create a perfect storm:

  • Technology on the shop floor is evolving rapidly. Today’s manufacturers need skilled tool makers, millwrights, welders, CNC operators, electronics technicians and the like.  Unfortunately, however, our country’s educational system is not producing enough of them.
  • Manufacturers are not developing their own workforces like they used to. To compound the problem, manufacturers are not investing in apprenticeship and training programs to develop their own skilled workforces.  The process of properly training unskilled workers is time-consuming, expensive, and the payoff is uncertain – workers don’t stay with one employer like they used to.
  • Young people are turning their backs on manufacturing. In fact, a recent survey shows that manufacturing ranks dead last among career choices for 18- to 24-year-olds.  Instead of viewing the modern factory for what it is – a clean, well-lit environment full of expensive machines where computer skills can be put to use – America’s youth imagine the greasy, smoke-belching assembly lines of their grandparents’ generation.
  • Our manufacturing workforce is graying. Many of today’s skilled technicians are in their 50s and already contemplating retirement.

The result?  U.S. factories are facing a serious lack of manpower.

While there is no simple solution to the problem, most experts agree that our country has to create a new educational-industrial complex.  To start, manufacturers must partner with the high schools and colleges that supply their labor force.  Together, they can change the perceptions our younger generations have of light industrial work.  Furthermore, they must re-align education for this career track, so that candidates emerge better prepared to handle the complex jobs of today’s manufacturing industry.

As a leading provider of skilled light industrial workers in Connecticut, A.R. Mazzotta knows how to source the area’s top talent.  From production workers such as assemblers to skilled machinists, quality control supervisors to manufacturing managers, we can deliver the highly trained, hard-working and reliable workers you need.  Contact us today to learn more about light industrial staffing services in Connecticut.