For the last several years, one of the biggest concerns voiced by manufacturers, construction firms, refiners, petrochemical and petroleum producers is the shortage of skilled manpower. In fact, it could be said that employers in these sectors are weathering the perfect storm of circumstances: Experienced baby boomers are reaching the age of 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day and a good percentage of them are retiring shortly thereafter, manufacturing has a reputation in recent years as being a dumb, dirty and dangerous career option, and changes brought about by digital and technological changes in all facets of industry are taxing those who are in the field. Recruiting, training and retaining quality skilled people is proving difficult even for the most forward-thinking companies.
Add to the skilled labor shortage the extra challenge of competing in a global marketplace, and it becomes obvious that North American manufacturers have a lot of work to do to alleviate this problem. But it is not only the responsibility of manufacturers and producers.