In Double-Digit Unemployment, Manufacturers Struggle to Find and Hire Highly Skilled Workers

Jan. 20, 2010
The Manufacturing Institute and Oracle Report That One-Third of Companies Have Some Level of Worker Shortage

As employers across the country continue to shed jobs, many manufacturers face an ironic dilemma. As they eliminate positions—mainly repetitive, assembly type jobs—they still have unfilled job openings for highly skilled workers.

According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, The Manufacturing Institute and Oracle, "almost one-third of responding companies report some level of shortages today."

These shortages of highly skilled workers are particularly acute within "the most profitable companies, aerospace and defense and life science sectors," and among skilled production workers, scientists and engineers.

"This is certainly an employer's market, but not as much with manufacturers," said Mark Tomlinson, executive director and general manager of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers ( "Manufacturers are looking for employees who are the opposite of the stereotypical factory worker doing repetitive, assembly-line work. They are in need of 21st century workers with specialized technical training, such as machinists, operators and technicians."

The complete survey results can be found at