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Manufacturers Willing to Spend to Shut the Skills Gap

Jan. 17, 2020
NAM survey shows manufacturers spending billions to attract and train skilled talent

A new survey conducted by the Manufacturing Institute, a partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, shows that almost 80% of manufacturers are ramping up their workforce training efforts with an eye on the skills gap.

Chad Moutray, NAM Chief Economist, said “Manufacturers consistently cite the inability to attract and retain talent as their top concern, and as this survey underlines, they are taking strong proactive steps to overcome it.” The Institute’s survey estimates the sector spent more than $26.2 billion on training programs, both for new and existing employees.

69.9% of firms reported they were either creating or expanding internal training programs, and 84.6% reported job-related technical training. The most popular means of encouraging workers to participate in training programs was supervisor encouragement and outreach, at 65.4%, while 63.1% of firms also reported offering tuition assistance. The largest reported obstacle to implementing workforce training was concern over interrupting work hours, at 74.1%.

The survey also reported how companies said training programs effected their employees careers. 74.8% reported increased productivity, 64.9% reported increased employee morale, and 38.9% said that offering training facilitated recruitment efforts—a potentially critical boon. An earlier study conducted by the Manufacturing Institute in partnership with Deloitte said that 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2028 if the skills gap persists.

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