ATS Survey Underscores Critical Need for Skilled Workers at U.S. Factories as Baby Boomers Retire Manufacturing Execs Estimate Retiring Workers will Cost Their Companies an Average $43 Million Each Over Next Five Years; Training Budgets Not Sufficient for Need
PEORIA, Ill., March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the first wave of U.S. Baby Boomers begin retiring this year, American manufacturing companies are highly concerned with their ability to find skilled workers, according to the results of a survey of industry senior executives commissioned by Advanced Technology Services, Inc. (ATS) and conducted by The Nielsen Company, a leading consulting and custom research firm. Among the survey's key findings, the pending retirement of highly skilled Baby Boomer workers will cost manufacturing companies $43 million each, on average—with nearly one in five estimating their cost at over $100 million.
Many companies (58% of all respondents) are expecting to train and educate the next generation of skilled workers—defined as those qualified in machine calibration, electrical systems, machine operation, tool and die manufacturing and machine maintenance—themselves. However, funding is inadequate; half of those executives surveyed said their training budget was only 1 to 5%.
"Despite the perception that U.S. manufacturing jobs are scarce, the undeniable trend is that skilled workers will be in very short supply in coming years," said ATS President Jeffrey Owens. "What's more, while much of the political debate centers around healthcare and basic or higher education, what matters to most manufacturing employers is vocational training."
The online survey, completed this month, found that two in three respondents agree that a robust training program is key to the future of U.S. manufacturing, and 90% feel high schools are not doing enough to prepare students for non-college careers. Executives stated that discrete (product-centric) manufacturing, electrical equipment manufacturing and motor vehicle parts manufacturing are the top areas most affected by the nascent labor shortage.
Other top findings from the survey:
- Among CEOs taking part in the survey, the estimated per-company cost of the skilled labor shortage is even higher: $63 million, on average.
- Most costs will be incurred in training and recruiting, followed by problems caused by lower quality and resulting decreases in customer satisfaction.
- 20% of respondents currently have more than 15 job openings on their factory floor. Over twice as many (41%) anticipate having more than 15 such job openings within five years.
- On the question of how important production machine maintenance is to achieving lean manufacturing, "very important" was checked by nearly 70% of those surveyed.
- On a positive note, 77% of surveyed executives agreed that the technical skills of U.S. military veterans transfer well to today's manufacturing needs.
The ATS survey included responses from 103 senior manufacturing executives with the title of Vice President, Plant Manager or CEO. Eighteen percent worked at manufacturing companies with revenues of $1 billion or higher; surveys were completed by individuals representing over two dozen manufacturing industry verticals.
For more information about the ATS survey, contact Don Johnson, ATS Vice President of Marketing, at email@example.com.
About Advanced Technology Services:
ATS makes factories run better. Advanced Technology Services (ATS) improves the productivity and profitability for many of the world's most respected manufacturers through the managed services of production equipment maintenance, information technology and spare parts repair. Born out of the need for American manufacturers to remain competitive in a fast changing global economy, ATS is the recognized leader in outsourced production equipment maintenance. ATS is headquartered in Peoria, IL with offices located in Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, Monterrey, Mexico, the United Kingdom and China. For more information, visit www.AdvancedTech.com.
About The Nielsen Company:
The Nielsen Company is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related assets. The company has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information on The Nielsen Company, visit www.nielsen.com.
SOURCE Advanced Technology Services