Skilled Workers Remain Scarce: Is Compensation a Factor?

June 18, 2012
New survey data suggest inadequate pay may be driving some skilled-worker shortages.

Bosch Rexroth is expanding its Fountain Inn, S.C., manufacturing facility and in mid-June held job fairs several states away -- in San Antonio and Austin, Texas -- in search of machinists and maintenance technicians to fill available positions. With the expansion, the company claims its new facility, an $80 million investment, will become the largest hydraulics manufacturing facility in North America.

The company is not the only manufacturer seeking such skills of course. The search seemingly is epidemic, as newly released survey data confirm. ManpowerGroup's seventh annual talent-shortage survey show skilled trades are the most difficult U.S. job to fill in 2012, a position it also held in 2011. Machinists and machine operators rose a notch in difficulty, moving from the 10th most-difficult position to fill to the ninth most difficult.

The list of the hardest U.S. jobs to fill in 2012, from most-difficult to least, is:
1. skilled trades
2. engineers
3. IT staff
4. sales representatives
5. accounting and finance staff
6. drivers
7. mechanics
8. nurses
9. machinists and machine operators
10. teachers

Perhaps more interesting data revealed by the survey, however, are the reasons cited by U.S. respondents for their difficulty filling certain position. Fully 55% cited a lack of available talent or no applicants, which is unlikely to come as a complete surprise to any manufacturer. However, more than half of respondents, indeed 54% of then, said they were having difficulty filling jobs because potential employees were looking for more pay than was offered. Only 13% of global respondents cited pay as an issue.

Among U.S. respondents the third-leading reason for difficulty filling jobs was lack of experience, cited by 44%.

Overall, 49% of U.S. employers are having difficulty filling jobs, compared with 34% of employers worldwide.

Related Content:

Solving the Root Cause of Manufacturing's Skilled Worker Shortage

Training the Manufacturing Workforce: Don't Go It Alone

About the Author

Jill Jusko

Bio: Jill Jusko is executive editor for IndustryWeek. She has been writing about manufacturing operations leadership for more than 20 years. Her coverage spotlights companies that are in pursuit of world-class results in quality, productivity, cost and other benchmarks by implementing the latest continuous improvement and lean/Six-Sigma strategies. Jill also coordinates IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Awards Program, which annually salutes the leading manufacturing facilities in North America.

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