Our Minnesota and Wisconsin manufacturing clients of all sizes and revenues continue to grow in confidence regarding regional economic recovery as evidenced by a cautious but steady uptick in hiring. Demand is rising but the pace of hiring –especially permanent hires - is tempered by looming uncertainties. Of foremost concern is the rising expense of health care and its effective utilization as a recruitment tool. This issue seems to overshadow perennial worries over government policies and local, state, and federal taxes.
emerging issue – especially among larger clients - is the growing qualified labor gap. Substantial challenges surround the recruitment of enough highly-skilled and professional workers to sustain projected growth. Companies that win the battle for this limited pool of human resources appear destined to realize the most growth.
Here are some interesting stats and trends we are seeing nationally as well as locally in the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin markets:
- Nearly 6 of 10 executives say it is difficult to attract qualified labor to their companies. Over half of those will admit they expect this to impact their bottom line.
- 1/3 of executives say they expect to grow their workforce in the next year.
- The high concentration of medical manufacturing in the Twin Cities makes it the #1 Toughest market to find Swiss Machinists in the USA; there are 2 openings for every Swiss Machinist; a good Swiss Machinist seldom has to work an undesirable shift.
- Projections indicate that, for the first time in U.S. history, the number of younger workers entering the labor market won't be enough to replace those who are leaving.
- Despite economic growth, many top talented folks aren’t “moving;” they’re wary of being “the last in and the first let go” if another recession comes along.
- During a Manufacturers Alliance presentation last year, U.S. Senator Amy Kloubochar of MN said: “Half of new jobs filled in next 10 years will be coming from two year tech schools & colleges.”
Recruitment of top talent in a high demand/low supply market will continue to be a strategic imperative for any growth-minded employer. Continued high unemployment levels belie regional labor market realities with respect to securing the highly-skilled employees who support our high-tech manufacturing base.
Check back Monday, February 17th, as we take a closer look at how to attract top talent to your operation.
The State of Manufacturing
– published by Enterprise Minnesota