A friend of mine worked for a European electrical infrastructure company. Some of the equipment they produced was the size of a small building, and cost a fortune to transport overseas. This led the company to reopen an old U.S. plant which used to make some of the same products back in the 1970s. But there was a huge catch: only 2 of the original engineers from the plant were alive and available to help the company’s team bring the facility back online.
The above is an extreme example of the “great crew change” that manufacturers of complex equipment are facing post-COVID, with two experienced workers leaving for every new worker coming in. After a decade of unheeded warnings, many companies are caught between mass Baby Boomer attrition, a shortage of Gen Xers, and skill gaps among millennial and Gen Z workers.
Unfortunately, most equipment manufacturers are struggling to find solutions:
Most forecasts predict the labor supply will return to equilibrium sometime around 2027 or 2028. In the meantime, do equipment manufacturers have to resign themselves to endless shortages, growing service backlogs, reduced profits, and lower quality? Or is there a better way to address the labor/skills gap right now?
A few steps companies can take include:
While companies who did not prepare for the current workforce crisis cannot expect to solve their labor problems immediately, the above strategies are a good start for accelerating your recovery time from the current workforce crisis.