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Help Wanted: manufacturers struggle to fill openings

Manufacturers throughout the state are struggling to fill openings, according to the latest round of the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Minnesota Hiring Difficulties Survey.

Based on a survey of manufacturers last spring, two-thirds of the industry’s job openings in Minnesota were classified as hard to fill.

A story by Alessia Leibert in the latest issue of Trends magazine takes a closer look at unfilled jobs in the sector and how manufacturers are responding. The survey found that machinist jobs were the hardest to fill at 78 percent, followed by machine tool operators, with 74 percent of the jobs defined as hard to fill.

Skills gaps — that is, not enough people with the right qualifications to fill open positions — were identified as the problem in only 14 percent of hard-to-fill jobs. The majority of hiring difficulties (31 percent) were caused by a mix of skills shortages and other factors, such as undesirable geographic locations, uncompetitive wages and inconvenient work shifts. Another 28 percent of jobs were classified as hard to fill because candidates lacked a solid work ethic or weren’t interested in a manufacturing career.

Manufacturing firms are responding to the challenge in a variety of ways, including changing how they advertise or recruit for open positions and by raising wages and benefits.

In perhaps the most surprising finding in the study, 40 percent of the firms said they have responded by increasing training for new hires. As the labor market tightens and competition among firms for qualified workers increases, employers are clearly more willing than in the past to hire inexperienced candidates and address their lack of skills through training programs, according to the study.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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