The skills gap matters to all of us in industrial America. For many people – it’s just not all that interesting of a field for them to enter. That’s doubly true of today’s youth – who are so often shuttled off into four-year schools with the hopes of pursuing white-collar jobs.
That stats are pretty telling. The majority of 18-24 year olds prefer accounting, law, education and computer science to manufacturing. Truth be told – it’s hard to blame them when they grow up in a world that will tell you about every cool, new feature that an iPhone 8 has, but doesn’t really tell you how it’s made – never mind actually inspiring a kid to want to pick manufacturing up as a career.
So what happens when the skills gap widens? Well, here’s what might be in store:
High Youth Unemployment
While it might seem like there are an endless number of jobs, the truth is that these days, there just aren’t. At least not full time, anyway. There are only so many of those kinds of jobs and when there’s an oversupply of skills couples with low demand – unemployment rises.
More manufacturing will move overseas
People hate to admit it – but this is where things are going. Simply put, if the American worker doesn’t want to step up, people in China gladly will. There’s an alarming disproportionate number of goods manufactured in China relative to the US. As that skill gap expands, so will imports.
Technical schools are closing
If there isn’t any interest in manufacturing careers, there’s no point in teaching to empty classrooms. And this is too bad. That means no more apprenticeships, educators bolting tech schools to pursue other areas of income and the like.
More empty buildings and empty spaces
As manufacturers leave town, they’ll leave empty spaces and empty places but worst of all, their tax revenue will dry up. And when revenues dry up – there ripple effect can be absolutely enormous. Just ask Detroit or Reading, PA.
Simply put, the skills gap is a very real thing and talent in the manufacturing realm is growing thin. It’s important for manufacturing companies like ours to consistently train our younger employees to allow them to grow their skills and find advancement. Turning it around – at best- should be considered a work in progress.