Stable buildings begin with a solid foundation; successful manufacturing companies begin with a solid framework of skilled workers.

The US remains one of the world’s largest manufacturing economies that continues to grow. Despite its growth, however, leaders would be remiss to ignore incoming headwinds, most notably, staff shortages and skills gaps.

The Skills Gap

According to Deloitte, “The manufacturing industry faces a talent shortage in the coming decade that could seriously hamper the positive growth and regeneration the industry has experienced in the United States since the Great Recession.” The estimate of unfilled positions by the year 2028 is 2.4 million, (approximately half of the 4.6 million open jobs) primarily due to the industry’s current skills gap and increased number of skilled workers leaving the industry (Baby Boomers).

Skilled workers enable companies to keep up with customer demands and keep pace with competitors. Competing in a growing industry-wide talent war is a three-pronged process: You must retain skilled workers, energize training initiatives, and adopt a proactive approach to recruitment.


Retaining talent is crucial. Don’t neglect the essential pillars.

 Recognition: Although it may seem trivial, recognizing your workers for a job well done gets excellent mileage. In fact, based on a global study, 79% of employees left their jobs due to a lack of recognition. Make it a practice to take notice of your staff’s accomplishments. Publicly announce their outstanding achievements. Send a handwritten note of appreciation. Give a tangible thank you.

  • Know your staff: Take time to recognize your team as real people with real lives. Create events around birthdays, anniversaries, and notable milestones. These events not only strengthen your bond with workers but also build camaraderie among staff and strengthen loyalty.
  • Open Communication: Provide a safe environment for employees to voice their concerns, complaints, and ideas. Provide regular performance feedback with guidance for improvement in a non-threatening manner.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to introduce new machinery, smart technologies, and automation at a rapid pace. Continued growth requires reviewing and tweaking your current training protocols for your experienced and new staff.

  • Provide your experienced workers with regularly scheduled refreshers.
  • Host advanced training when before adding new technology.
  • Support a continuous learning program. Encourage employees to earn additional certifications and credentials. Offer tuition reimbursement or supplementation as an incentive.
  • Create improved assessments and methods for evaluating job skills.

  Proactive Recruitment

Start looking at recruitment from a cultivation perspective.

  • Build a pipeline of future talent: Visit high schools; engage students early in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives.
  • Apprenticeships: Once commonplace in the trades industries, apprenticeships offer a structured learning environment concurrent with on-the-job training. The shortage of skilled workers has prompted a forceful comeback of apprenticeships.

In summary, manufacturing’s new high-tech climate requires high-tech skills forcing companies to implement unique programs to retain current workers, rethink current training initiatives, and add innovative twists to their recruiting methods.

Gillmann Services, Inc. strives to create a supportive, transparent, and safety-conscious working environment where every employee, individually and collectively, provides our clients with exceptional workmanship, extraordinary service, and professional integrity. At GSI, we work for you! Give us a call today.