Staffing with the Engineering Skills Gap

After much hand-wringing and speculation, it has been fairly conclusively established that the skills gap in engineering is not as bad as many thought. While some companies are struggling to staff up and experiencing predictable recruiting challenges, the majority of positions are being filled with qualified professionals.

Just because the skills gap has not opened up into a chasm, however, doesn’t mean it never existed and isn’t still having effects. Researches at MIT who have been studying this issue closely have concluded that the skills gap in engineering has a disproportionate effect on specific industries, creating challenges for some companies that others in the industry aren’t feeling.

The sector that has been most affected by a skills gap is also one that has a significant impact on the economy – manufacturers that introduce more products to the market than their competitors do. Researchers found that these companies are struggling to find candidates with the necessary math skills to fill their current and future vacancies. More surprising, however, is that they are also struggling to find candidates with the necessary reading skills.

As many as a quarter of the manufacturing companies surveyed report having this problem, and it could get a lot worse as a wave of engineers plans for retirement. These companies are spending upwards of three months looking for qualified candidates, a recruitment timeline that seriously affects their operational strength and strategic agility. Of the companies reporting a problem, 40 percent identify this problem as a serious impediment to success.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that these innovative manufactures are typically smaller and don’t have the recruiting reach of larger competitors. Staffing strategies like partnering with community colleges to funnel talent into their ranks are time, labor, and cost prohibitive. The report concludes by recommending a closer relationship between employers and educators, and steps are already being taken, but the effects of those efforts won’t be felt for a long time.

The immediate and attainable solution is to partner with a specialized recruiter. Through this resource, manufacturers can connect with job seekers who have the proven reading and math skills that they are looking for. This strategy shrinks the recruitment timeline, lowers the cost, and typically produces better outcomes. It also allows companies to bridge their skills gap once and for all and commit to ambitious plans for the future.

If you’re interested in taking on a staffing partner, work with the team at Selectek. We have a roster of talented technical professionals ready to get to work now. Contact us directly to begin exploring your options.