The Need for Skilled Industrial Workers Is Rising

The evolution of the industrial labor market is transforming more than just the way employers manage existing workforces. For years, companies have contended with shortages of skilled workers. Employment experts predict these trends will have an ever-increasing impact on how HR departments acquire talent.

Understanding the Shortage

In June 2015, Forbes reported on an annual ManpowerGroup survey that polled 42,000 hiring managers around the world to shed insights on global workforce trends. The results showed that for the sixth year in a row, skilled trade workers were the most in-demand personnel category, followed by sales reps and engineers.

Analysts who conducted the research said that the rapid rate of changing technology outpaced skills development and meant that skilled occupations lost their value quicker. One noted that the phenomena also contributed to clear distinctions between workers who possessed needed skills and those who had commonly available talents.

A Long-Standing Issue

As the Manpower survey revealed, skilled worker shortages aren’t a new trend, and other observers have espoused similar opinions. In 2014, the Economic Policy Institute observed that the skills workers commonly possessed were mismatched with available jobs.

Potentially further compounding job-search problems, the unemployment rates for all demographics were higher in years like 2013 than in 2007 around the beginning of the sub-prime loan crisis and the Great Recession. In some years, industrial labor was hit extremely hard, with a stunning 62 percent of construction companies in 2014 suffering from an inability to fill craft-worker occupations and essential professional jobs.

While the overall unemployment rate has more or less continued to drop into 2016, earlier years had an undeniable effect. Even worse, it may last long after unemployment stabilizes. As recently as 2012, the McKinsey Global Institute predicted that by the year 2020, there would be a total global shortage of around 40 million college-educated workers.

What Does This Mean for the Industrial Workforce?

Some experts suggest that companies will have to rethink the way they operate and focus on improving their workforces’ skills through training and continuing education. While such strategies may help, they’re not certain to serve as lasting remedies. For example, in-house training can’t necessarily overcome lack of experience, and specialized work often demands formal education.

Fortunately for many skilled workers on the hunt for jobs, companies are broadening their horizons. Modern firms are turning to previously under-used talent pools, like staffing agencies, to fulfill industrial jobs in numerous sectors. Because these positions remain accessible to a range of individuals, they may ultimately help close the gap between worker supply and demand.

Getting Your Job Search Started

Seeking gainful employment can be difficult without the right resources. Even in-demand skilled workers find that mismatched talents or lacking connections may hinder their job search efforts.

Fortunately, Forge is the premiere resource for workers to find companies that value their skills. Because it focuses exclusively on industrial labor, it helps connect people with opportunities on which they can build careers. As a top provider of skilled light industrial workers, it’s also a great place for today’s firms to shore up their workforce against ongoing economic trends.