This industry has millions of jobs that no one can fill

Far from disappearing because of smart technologies like AI, manufacturing is booming and listings are nearing historical peaks.

If you’re looking for a change in career, it may be time to try on a hard hat.

Manufacturing is on the rise again, according to a new report by consulting firm Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute. But as technical skillsets and demographics change, there aren’t enough people in the industry to fill the number of projected jobs in coming years.

The study found that 2.4 million jobs could be left unfilled over the next decade, and the shortage could put $2.5 trillion of economic output at risk.

Too few workers

89% of surveyed executives agree the industry has a shortage of talent. Most of them offer higher pay to bring on or keep skilled workers, but they are often thwarted in those efforts when an outside company makes an even more attractive offer.

The skill shortage comes from two major phenomena. One was bound to happen: As some baby boomers age out of the workforce and decide to retire, the 2.6 million manufacturing jobs they occupy will become empty. But demand is also a major contributing factor: The study estimates almost 2 million new manufacturing jobs will flood the market by 2028.

Far from disappearing because of smart technologies like artificial intelligence, manufacturing is actually booming and job listings are nearing their historical peak. So who will fill all those positions?

In the irony of ironies, Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute recommend “turning toward automation to supplement human jobs that are going unfilled.” Remember how we were all afraid that one day robots would take our jobs?

Alexandra Villarreal|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at avillarreal@theladders.com.