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2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study

For more than two centuries, the manufacturing industry has adopted new technologies and provided new jobs for workers. Today, the industry is experiencing exciting and exponential change, as technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT) are rapidly changing the workplace. While some predicted that these new technologies would eliminate jobs, we have found the reverse—more jobs are actually being created. In fact, job openings have been growing at double-digit rates since mid-2017, and are nearing the historical peak recorded in 2001.1 In this dynamic manufacturing environment, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute launched their fourth skills gap study to reevaluate their prior projections and move the conversation forward on today’s hiring environment and the future of manufacturing work. The results appear to highlight a widening gap between the jobs that need to be filled and the skilled talent pool capable of filling them. The study reveals that the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of 2.5 trillion. Further, the study shows that the positions relating to digital talent, skilled production, and operational managers may be three times as difficult to fill in the next three years. How can the manufacturing industry get ready for the future of work and prepare workers to work with robots and advanced technologies? What are the skills that will become must-haves in the workplace? What are the pathways for training and education to enable these skills? Finding potential solutions to close the manufacturing skills gap begins by exploring what’s possible for future jobs.