In early 2022 while many people tried to predict the short term future of the manufacturing industry, we continued to suffer from an acute labor shortage. By October 2021, employment was down by over 350,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels. Beyond causing stress, the lack of high quality workers has led to more injury, product liability, and damage risk for these businesses.
Many manufacturing jobs take place indoors, in close quarters. When COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., the manufacturing space was among the most affected, driving some of the employee turnover manufacturers experienced.
However it isn’t just COVID causing shortages; baby boomer retirements have also caused issues across the manufacturing industry. Many younger workers have migrated to industries like technology and healthcare, so there hasn’t been any backfill to replace those reaching retirement.
And with a variety of major pandemic disruptions still at play, manufacturers are dealing with multiple staffing challenges with unclear solutions. While some manufacturing firms report vaccination requirements are driving higher turnover, others are seeing minimal impact from those mandates. Many parents have had to leave work because of child care interruptions. Other employees may have left during the pandemic out of fear for their safety, burnout, or even the illness itself.
All the while, manufacturing has evolved to harness more state-of-the-art technology, such as co-bots that work alongside human workers, increasing productivity and safety. This transformation has helped the industry, but manufacturing workers on factory floors and offices alike now need higher levels of education and new skills, raising barriers to entry for those without this training or preparation. However, innovative and forward thinking companies like Allis Roller are finding creative ways to find a solution to this current issue, and the future of manufacturing looks to be in good hands
There is no magic wand solution but it takes hard work and a rededication to the local community to find qualified employees and recruit them when interested. This is why Allis Roller has in the past partnered with MATC to promote manufacturing as a career. Little by little we can close the hiring gap and grow into a successful future.