Creative Ways Manufacturers Can Overcome the Skilled Labor Shortage

Creative Ways Manufacturers Can Overcome the Skilled Labor Shortage

The manufacturing labor shortage or skills gap is a major issue in the manufacturing industry. A labor shortage occurs when there is more need for labor than there are workers who can fulfill the requirement. To keep the industry moving forward, manufacturers must find ways to overcome this gap. 

As the wheels of industrialization continue to turn post-pandemic COVID-19, the manufacturing sector gets stuck with growing challenges. One of these is the need for more skilled labor. This gap has far-reaching implications for the industry. The skilled labor shortage greatly impacts the manufacturing industry, from reduced productivity and output, lack of innovation, and high-rising labor costs. In this blog, we will learn how companies deal with this challenge.  

Why is there a manufacturing labor shortage? A combination of issues results in a need for more skilled labor. It may include side effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, such as mental health support, workplace safety concerns, desire for flexibility, low income, higher demand for tech-related skills, and more. 

Some other reasons behind the labor shortage in manufacturing are:  

  • the aging workforce 
  • lower employment rate 
  • lack of tech-savvy labor, and 
  • lack of adequate internal training for the workforce.  

“The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the NAM. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone.” 

Source: Deloitte 

The labor shortage is highly impacting the manufacturing industry and the overall economy. The pandemic prompted workers to leave the industry. Nearly one million Americans died from the COVID pandemic. Out of these, many were working-age adults. Due to this contagious disease, many people retired and did not want to go to the workplace. And some immigrants could not access work in the U.S. due to border closures. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there are 10 million current job openings and 8.4 million unemployed people who are still actively looking for work — so statistically, there’s a job out there for every person searching for one. 

Source: Washington Post 

Creative ways to deal with the labor shortage in the manufacturing industry 

  • Focus on training and education and partner with educational institutions
Manufacturers should establish strong partnerships with educational institutions, colleges, and universities to address the skilled labor shortage in the manufacturing sector. In addition, they must focus on designing specialized curricula, offering scholarships to attract young talent, and sponsoring other apprenticeship programs. Manufacturers can identify existing employees with potential and provide them with opportunities to learn new technologies, acquire advanced skills, and stay updated with industry trends. Such programs enhance the current workforce’s skills and boost employee morale, retention, and loyalty. Companies can also collaborate with government agencies and industry associations to develop comprehensive training initiatives catering to the manufacturing sector’s needs. 
  • Incorporate technology to support manufacturing processes
To stay ahead of the competition, manufacturers should embrace modern technologies and digitization to maximize productivity and efficiency. By incorporating manufacturing ERP, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and business intelligence, companies can reduce dependency on manual labor while optimizing operations. Modern technologies and automation lead to job losses, but they can create demand for high-skilled workers who can operate, maintain, and program these software systems and machines. Thus, manufacturers can overcome the skilled labor shortage by reskilling the existing workers and attracting a tech-savvy workforce. 
  • Emphasis on talent retention and employee engagement
Manufacturers should adopt strategies to attract and retain skilled workers. To do this, they can focus on creating an appealing work environment, offering competitive compensation packages, providing opportunities for career advancement, and emphasizing the significance of their products in society.  Building a strong employer brand through positive word-of-mouth and participating in industry events can also help attract top talent. Moreover, companies can implement flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible scheduling, to accommodate the changing preferences of the modern workforce. Participating in seminars, industry conferences, and trade shows can facilitate networking and exchange of ideas. In addition, companies can form partnerships and industry networks by developing standard training programs and pool resources to train and retain skilled talent. 


The skilled labor shortage in manufacturing requires a multi-faceted approach that combines collaboration with educational institutions, upskilling programs, embracing technology, attracting and retaining talent, and fostering industry-wide cooperation.  

By implementing these strategies, manufacturers can overcome the challenges posed by the changing labor landscape and build a robust workforce capable of driving innovation, productivity, and sustainable growth. Together, manufacturers can bridge the gap and secure a prosperous future for the manufacturing industry. 

Manufacturing leaders and workforce managers should take the necessary steps to attract young, tech-savvy employees who can manage automated machines and software and help create better business opportunities. Millions of workers are unemployed in the U.S. Manufacturers should attract and retain talent in unusual circumstances while improving workplace policies and conditions. The aforementioned creative solutions to manage labor shortage will help manufacturers achieve their future endeavors.