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

The US manufacturing industry continues to gain momentum. Job openings have been growing at double-digit rates since mid-2017 and are nearing the historical peak recorded in 2001. In this dynamic manufacturing environment, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute launched their fourth skills gap study, to re-evaluate 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 search for skilled talent—ranked as the No. 1 driver of manufacturing competitiveness by global manufacturing executives —appears to be at a critical level. In fact, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute research reveals an unprecedented majority (89 percent) of executives agree there is a talent shortage in the US manufacturing sector, 5 percent higher than 2015 results. The talent shortage seems to be exacerbated by two factors. First, the US economy is currently in the midst of the second-longest expansion in history, and the manufacturing industry is part of this expansion. To support continued growth, based on our analysis, Deloitte expects the number of new jobs in manufacturing to accelerate and grow by 1.96 million workers by 2028 (see figure 1). Second, the manufacturing industry could face a demographic challenge. Despite the trend of delaying retirement—according to the most recent Gallup poll, the average age of retirement is now 66 years—more than 2.6 million baby boomers are expected to retire from manufacturing jobs over the next decade. And, more than half of the open jobs in 2028 (2.4 million) could remain unfilled because of the following top reasons identified by executives: Shifting skill sets due to the introduction of advanced technologies; Misperceptions of manufacturing jobs; Retirement of baby boomers.