Manufacturing Needs Digital Skillsets

Manufacturing Needs Digital Skillsets

This piece was originally published in the December 2018 issue of electroindustry.

In a provoking breakfast keynote, Paul Wellener, vice chairman and leader of U.S. Industrial Products & Construction, Deloitte Consulting, proclaimed that the jobs are here, but asked, “Where are the people?”

Drawing on the 2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study, Mr. Wellener addressed how the nature of work is changing and what manufacturing jobs will be like in the digital era. He pointed out how globalization, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, advanced analytics, and the Internet of Things are transforming the workplace at an unprecedented pace.

Among the findings he shared:

  • The skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028
  • The average time to fill an open job position is on the rise
  • The skills shortage could put $454 billion of manufacturing GDP at risk in 2028 alone
  • Higher pay to attract talent is a double-edged sword

He concluded by noting that industrywide approaches to closing the skills gap are fundamental to offset expected shortfalls in skilled workers. Five key competencies are technology and computer skills, programming skills for robots and automation, critical thinking, working with tools and techniques, and digital skills.

Industry leaders should also explore ways to provide exposure to robotics, automation, and computer programming to primary school students as well as those in middle and high school, and to build awareness of manufacturing as a safe industry that can provide long-term career progression with competitive pay.

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