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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Hixson

Where Did All The Skilled Labor Go?

Overcoming the Skilled Labor Shortage and Building a Stronger Workforce

As facility managers, we know you're feeling the pinch of the skilled mechanical maintenance technician shortage. It's a tough situation, but we're here to help. In this blog post, we're going to have a real conversation about why this shortage is happening and what you can do to turn things around. So, buckle up and let's dive into the data and some solutions that can make a difference.

The Numbers Don't Lie: Skilled Labor Shortage in a Nutshell

First, let's take a look at the data that shows just how serious this skilled labor shortage is:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that we'll need an additional 45,000 mechanical maintenance technicians by 2029, with an expected growth rate of 5% (BLS).

A Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute survey found that an estimated 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled between 2021 and 2030 due to the skills gap (Deloitte).

The same survey discovered that 77% of manufacturers believe that the labor shortage will impact their ability to meet customer demand, while 83% think it will decrease their overall productivity.

Why Is This Happening?

To fix the problem, we need to understand why it's happening in the first place. Some of the main reasons for the shortage of skilled mechanical maintenance technicians include:

  • Aging Workforce: Many experienced technicians are retiring, and there aren't enough skilled workers to replace them.

  • Limited Interest in Technical Trades: Younger generations aren't as interested in technical trades, leading to a smaller pool of potential workers.

  • Rapid Technological Advancements: The constant evolution of technology means that technicians need updated knowledge and skills, leading to higher demand for advanced training and education.

Strategies to Overcome the Labor Shortage

Alright, now let's talk solutions. Here are some strategies to help you attract and keep mechanical maintenance technicians:

A. Training and Education Programs are Your Friends:

Offering training and education programs can help close the skills gap for both current employees and new hires. It also makes your staff happier and more likely to stick around. Some ideas to consider:

  • Team up with local technical schools or community colleges to create training programs that fit your needs.

  • Give employees financial help or tuition reimbursement for further education in their field.

  • Hold in-house training courses or workshops to keep everyone up-to-date on the latest industry tech and best practices.

Programs like those offered by Ace Electric Motor & Pump Co are specifically designed to take even the greenest technicians and provide them with working knowledge of electric motors and how to properly test them.

B. Apprenticeships: A Win-Win Situation:

Apprenticeships are a great way to bring in and develop new talent. Partner with local trade schools or community colleges to create an apprenticeship program that combines on-the-job training and classroom education. This way, you're building a pipeline of skilled workers and ensuring that new hires get the training they need to succeed


C. Make Your Company a Great Place to Work:

To attract and keep top talent, focus on creating a positive work environment and showing that your company is committed to employee growth and development. Some tips include:

  • Set up a clear career progression path for technicians, with opportunities for advancement and increased responsibility.

  • Offer competitive compensation packages, including benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

  • Foster a culture that values teamwork, open communication, and continuous learning.

D. Service Partners to the Rescue:

When equipment breaks down time is of the essence and not everyone has a team of available technicians on-site and available to get them back up and running. Because let’s be honest, your techs are often busy with the work you’ve already assigned them to do.

That’s why it’s important to build a good relationship with a trusted service provider. With industrial mechanics ready and experienced is the service and repair of your industrial electric motors. Such a relationship allows you to supplement your existing team and keep your facility running as much as possible.

E. Embrace Automation and Technology:

Investing in automation and advanced technology can help reduce your reliance on skilled labor and improve overall efficiency. By automating routine tasks, you can free up your existing technicians to focus on more complex and high-value tasks. Plus, embracing advanced technology can help attract a younger generation of workers who are more comfortable with digital tools and systems

F. Spread the Word About the Benefits of a Career in Mechanical Maintenance:

To encourage more young people to consider a career in mechanical maintenance, it's essential to promote the benefits and opportunities the field offers. Work with local schools, community organizations, and industry associations to showcase the rewarding nature of a career in this field. Some key talking points might include:

  • Job security and stability due to the ongoing demand for skilled technicians.

  • Competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages.

  • Opportunities for advancement and growth within the industry.

  • The chance to work with cutting-edge technology and equipment.

As a facility manager, overcoming the skilled mechanical maintenance technician shortage is a challenge you need to tackle head-on to ensure the success of your operations. By investing in training and education programs, leveraging apprenticeships, creating a great company culture, utilizing temporary staffing solutions, embracing automation and technology, and promoting the benefits of a career in the field, you can attract and retain the talent needed to overcome this critical labor shortage.

We know you're more than capable of navigating this tricky landscape, and as an industrial labor consultant, our goal is to provide you with the guidance and resources you need. By implementing the strategies we've discussed, you can strengthen your workforce and set your facility up for long-term success.


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