By Steve Staub (Staub Manufacturing Solutions)
For the past year we have heard manufacturing business owners say that while they have many job positions available, they have not been able to find enough skilled help to fill them. With a fairly high regional unemployment rate, that seemed almost contradictory. Well, the results of our regional manufacturing employment survey are clear. Our local industry really is facing a great challenge, and this same challenge presents a tremendous opportunity.
Let me first say thank you to all the companies who participated in this survey and those individuals and organizations who helped spread the word. We were thrilled to have over 100 companies respond. There was a good reflection of the industry, from small five-man shops to companies that employ over one thousand.
The first thing everyone wants to know is how many jobs openings are there? Well, those 101 companies have 697 manufacturing jobs available! If you look at the number of jobs available, divided by the number of responses, that equals 6.9 jobs available per company. There are 2,400 manufacturing companies in the Dayton region, so can we assume that there are 16,560 manufacturing jobs available in our region? Possibly yes... but I really doubt it. So let’s dive a little deeper into the numbers and see what we come up with.
According to the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association (DRMA), the average manufacturing company in our region has roughly 40 employees. So if we look at the survey results for the 46 respondents with 50 or fewer employees we could deduct that the average shop has 2.4 openings. If we take 2.4 openings per shop times 2,400 shops we find out that there are around 5,760 available manufacturing jobs in the region. However, some of the larger companies responding had 5, 10 or even 20 openings. Considering this, it would be easy to say that there could be up to or more than 7,000 manufacturing jobs currently available in the Miami Valley region. Wow! These calculations put us a little higher, but still compatible with national survey results.
What types of jobs are available? Not a huge surprise that the most positions available are for CNC machinists including CNC lathe operators. There are also ample opportunities for jobs in Assembly, Welding and Engineering.
The challenge of finding the right people for these jobs is ongoing. 52% of the respondents have been looking for over two months with some looking for up to a year. So why can’t they fill these jobs? A whopping 72% of the respondents said that the applicants lacked the skills needed for the positions! But are there opportunities to learn while in the positions? You bet! 75% of the responding companies offer some kind of training program and some even pay for schooling!
In what appears to be a positive sign that this is not just a temporary surge in manufacturing employment, almost 65% of the companies responding said that they are planning to hire even more people before the end of 2012.
When we at MadeInDaytonBLOG.com finished compiling our survey results we discussed them with our friends at the DRMA. President, Angelia Erbaugh had this to say about them: “Every week a (DRMA) member tells me they have job openings they are struggling to fill, and I’ve been hearing this for well over a year. We are currently working on several initiatives to help fill the pipeline of future manufacturing workers:
● Xtreme BOTS - Career awareness program. Students design, engineer, and manufacture remote controlled robots. They learn something about the various disciplines involved in the world of manufacturing.
● Another initiative is focused on connecting with audiences who historically have not considered careers in high-skill manufacturing. Companies provide career awareness mentoring to bright, energetic, and eager minority students.
● A new initiative is underway to determine what additional things can be done to fill the pipeline, such as manufacturing open houses and tours for parents and school counselors.
President Erbaugh also added ,“DRMA is also looking for more people to be involved in helping solve this skilled worker shortage.”
For those entering the job market, our industry often gets very little respect. Many overlook a career in manufacturing because it seems to lack the prestige and financial reward of other options. But what is the truth? Our survey shows that there are thousands of jobs available here, now, close to home, that pay well and offer training. It seems like an easy choice.
In future articles we will dive much deeper into the individual metrics and see if we can’t find some answers. We also plan to do another survey this fall to watch for trends. So what are your thoughts? Why are these positions open? How do we fill these positions? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
MadeInDaytonBlog.com Survey Results
Company Size - # of Responses
1-24 employees 25 responses
25-49 employees 21 responses
50-99 employees 27 responses
100-499 employees 19 responses
500-999 employees 6 responses
1,000+ employees 3 responses
Number of current jobs openings at responding companies
Top 5 jobs available
1. CNC Machinist
Entry Level $20-30k
Only hire experienced help 14%
In house training available 48%
Pay for schooling 31%
Companies planning to add more jobs in 2012
64.9% plan to add 1-5 more jobs
13.4% plan to add 6-10 more jobs
4.1% plan to add 11-19 more jobs
4.1% plan to add 20-49 more jobs
1.0% plan to add 50 or more jobs
12.5% do not plan to add any more jobs for the remainder of the year.
Top Challenges to filling positions
1. Lack of required job skills (72%)
2. Not enough applicants
3. Failed drug test
4. Did not fit culture
Positions have been open for
Two months to one year 52%
Less than two months 48%