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Manufacturing Day Perspective: Attracting a Management Force, Not Just A Work Force By Frances Brunelle

September 25, 2019 / FRANCES BRUNELLE

MFG Day was established in 2012 to address both the skills gap and misconceptions about modern manufacturing. There is universal agreement this is a valuable and important effort. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled month over month, year over year. The projections are this situation will only get worse. Research by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute predicts that over the next ten years, manufacturers will lack 2.4 million of the 4.6 million workers needed. 

The Bigger Problem: Manufacturing Owner Founders are Retiring

Despite the legitimate repackaging of manufacturing work as interesting, honorable, and lucrative, there is an even bigger problem brewing for U.S. manufacturing. About 66 percent of business owners are expected to retire in the next decade.  Attracting young people to the manufacturing sector through MFG Day advocacy each October is a terrific start, however these new entrants to the manufacturing workforce simply will not be ready to take the helm and manage these companies in time to fill the shoes of retiring manufacturing owners. The skills gap is far more than a shortage of CNC, lathe, and mold making machine operators and programmers.  An entire generation of manufacturing management is lacking; rather than talking about 2.4 million unfilled manufacturing jobs, the urgency will shift to the $454 billion of Manufacturing GDP at risk. 

Young Baby-Boomers Saving Manufacturing 2020 and Beyond

For several years there has been a developing phenomenon in Manufacturing Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A). Young baby-boomers are leaving corporate America in favor of buying manufacturing companies. The Market Pulse Report tracks the M&A industry quarterly; the report has shown that manufacturing companies are the most sought-after acquisition in the U.S. (with few quarterly exceptions).