Availability of skilled workers is a growing challenge for manufacturers

CFOs continue to see solid signs of the economic recovery in U.S. manufacturing.

By ·

Prime Advantage, a consortium for midsized manufacturers, announced the findings of its fourth annual Group CFO Survey, revealing financial projections and top concerns of its member companies’ CFOs in 2012.

CFOs continue to see solid signs of the economic recovery in U.S. manufacturing. While member companies are planning more hiring, wage increases, and capital expenditures, the availability of skilled workers is a growing challenge.

Here is a summary of of the findings
•      Sixty-nine percent of executives are more optimistic about their companies’ financial prospects in 2012 (compared to 67 percent in 2011)
•      While more CFOs are optimistic about their own financial prospects, fewer respondents are more optimistic about the U.S. economy than in 2011, with 67 percent feeling better about 2012 than the prior year (compared to 74 percent in 2011)
•      Fifty-nine percent of manufacturers expect moderate to high growth from their key customers in 2012
•      Nearly 95 percent of CFOs plan to invest in manufacturing equipment and 63 percent in computer hardware this year
•      CFOs report that customers are less affected by tight credit, with 24 percent of respondents in 2012 stating customers are not affected by the cost or availability of credit (compared to 14 percent in 2011)
•      Health insurance premiums increased for most respondents, but at a lesser rate, with only 33 percent indicating an increase of more than 11 percent (down from 48 percent measured in 2010)
•      Top priorities in 2012 include cutting operational costs, developing new products and services, and long-term strategic planning (which rose 13 points from 2011).

Manufacturing companies continue to struggle to fill open positions, however. This has been an ongoing concern for logistics managers, as well.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents have unfilled positions (more than double last year’s result of 23 percent). The inability to find skilled workers locally is the main reason for this problem (as reported by 65 percent of respondents with open positions). Competition for talent and labor force immobility were cited as other top causes.

As a short-term solution, companies have recognized that they cannot rely on the market to provide skilled workers and they are investing in retraining existing employees and providing training for existing employees. As a long-term solution, respondents emphasized promoting manufacturing as a strong career choice in local educational institutions. Respondents are also going to junior college or vocational schools and co-developing welding or electronic programs to help deliver skilled workers to the local marketplace.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Case Study: LEAN Yields Big Results
Every day, companies across a wide range of industries use LEAN in their supply chains, warehouses and distribution centers, finance departments, and customer service centers, among other areas. LEAN practices improve safety, quality, and productivity by extracting cost and waste from all facets of an operation – from the procurement of raw materials to the shipment of finished goods.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...