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Manufacturers Must Tackle “Skills Gap Crisis”

Staff assessments can identify missing skills and improve manufacturing performance and safety

Manufacturers are facing a growing skills shortage, which they must urgently address. In a new white paper “Meeting the Manufacturing Skills Crisis,” Questionmark, the online assessment provider, calls on employers to gather more information on workforce skills and to use it to improve performance and safety.

Manufacturers are facing a growing skills shortage they must urgently address. In a new white paper Questionmark, the online assessment provider, calls on employers to gather more information on workforce skills and use it to improve performance and safety

A growing number of manufacturing roles are being left vacant, but employers are struggling to recruit candidates to fill them. At the same time, many current workers fear their skill sets will be largely redundant by 2025.

This growing skills crisis could prevent manufacturers from taking advantage of new opportunities. It also has an impact on the quality of production and raises the risk of health and safety breaches, with employees failing to follow procedure.

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The white paper identifies seven challenges across the industry:

  1. Recruiting people with the right skills – according to recruitment consultants, some 63% of manufacturing hirers noted a skills shortage as the biggest recruitment problem.1
  2. Outdated skills among the existing workforce – a study by Capgemini showed that 37% of manufacturing workers believe their skill set will be redundant in the next five years.2
  3. High staff turnover – research by training providers Tooling-U SME shows that 43% of manufacturers have an annual staff turnover rate of at least 20%.3
  4. Human error – over 80% of errors in the manufacturing process are caused by human error.4 This creates problems with quality and for health and safety.
  5. Lack of effective personal development – just 36% of manufacturing employers set aside a budget for employee development, potentially contributing to high staff turnover levels.5
  6. Lack of diversity – the impression that manufacturing employers do not nurture diversity could be putting people, particularly, young people off from entering the industry.
  7. An aging workforce – in the US, almost a quarter of the manufacturing workforce is aged over 55. In the UK almost half the workforce is aged over 50.

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Lars Pedersen, CEO of Questionmark, said, “When employees don’t have the skills they need, quality suffers. Manufacturers are unable to take advantage of new opportunities and health and safety is also put at risk.

“Assessments of the workforce will help employers understand the extent of the skills gap among their staff. Armed with this information, they can make better decisions on training, recruitment and personal development.”

Through online assessments, employers can gather robust information on strengths and weaknesses across the workforce. They can introduce training and support and ensure that team members understand the procedures they must follow. By testing candidates before making the decision to hire them, they can ensure new starters have the skills they need to make a valuable contribution.

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