SoloPoint Insights

Manufacturing Workforce Issue: 2.4 Million Jobs Expected To Stay Unfilled

In Part 1 of our Manufacturing Workforce spotlight, we highlight the main issue that’s causing the workforce shortage in manufacturing: The pending retirement of Baby Boomers and the disinterest among Millennials to pursue careers in manufacturing.  In Part 2 of this series, Technology Review highlights the other issues that are causing the decrease in hiring in manufacturing:

There will be 4.6 million new manufacturing jobs in the US to fill between 2018 and 2028, according to a new report out on Nov. 14, 2018 from Deloitte.

Over half of the newly created jobs—2.4 million—are predicted to go empty.


(Image Credit: Technology Review)

The report attributes this to three main things:

  • An increase in the skill level required for manufacturing jobs as they make more use of automation.
  • A loss of many experienced workers as baby boomers leave the workforce.
  • A negative perception of the manufacturing industry by both students and their parents.



(Image Credit: Technology Review)

Much of the manufacturing workforce is aging. More than 2.6 million baby boomers working in the industry are expected to retire over the next 10 years.

The rest of the new jobs—about 2 million—will come from natural growth. As the US expands its specialized manufacturing industry, more people will be needed to support the development.

That sounds like good news, but the problem is there aren’t enough workers ready to take on these new roles.


All these things are already making it harder to recruit workers. In 2015 it took an average of 70 days to find someone to fill a skilled manufacturing job. That’s creeping up.

That means it now takes an average of 93 days to fill these roles, a figure that’s only anticipated to grow in the next decade.

(Image Credit: Technology Review)


For the short term, the authors outlined three possible solutions to the shortage of potential employees:

  • Raising wages to attract more workers—though raising pay too high could put more roles at risk of automation in the long run.
  • Outsourcing some tasks.
  • Allowing for more flexibility in hiring requirements—looking for potential rather than years of experience.

For the long term, the report recommends that companies investigate a few different paths:

  • Finding ways to continue tapping into the knowledge of retired workers—hiring them for short-term projects after they’ve left and keeping them accessible to answer questions.
  • Using automation to complete more tasks in the factory.
  • Exploring new models of sourcing talent, such as finding it through gig platforms (or partnering with a niched staffing firm).
  • Establishing partnerships with governments, universities, and other public institutions.
  • Creating new digital training platforms to develop and retain talent


For help in recruiting for those hard-to-fill manufacturing engineer jobs, call SoloPoint Solutions today at (408)246-5945 or (714)708-3639!