(p. A1) As unlikely as it would seem against this backdrop, manufacturers who want to expand find that hiring is not always easy. During the recession, domestic manufacturers appear to have accelerated the long-term move (p. A3) toward greater automation, laying off more of their lowest-skilled workers and replacing them with cheaper labor abroad.
Now they are looking to hire people who can operate sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints and demonstrate higher math proficiency than was previously required of the typical assembly line worker.
Makers of innovative products like advanced medical devices and wind turbines are among those growing quickly and looking to hire, and they too need higher skills.
. . .
Manufacturers who profess to being shorthanded say they have retooled the way they make products, calling for higher-skilled employees. “It’s not just what is being made,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “but to the degree that you make it at all, you make it differently.”
In a survey last year of 779 industrial companies by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, 32 percent of companies reported “moderate to serious” skills shortages. Sixty-three percent of life science companies, and 45 percent of energy firms cited such shortages.
For the full story, see:
MOTOKO RICH. “Jobs Go Begging as Gap is Exposed in Worker Skills.” The New York Times (Fri., July 1, 2010): A1 & A3.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the article is dated July 1, 2010 and has the title “Factory Jobs Return, but Employers Find Skills Shortage.”)