Login



For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Not a PLUS+ Subscriber?

Become a PLUS+ Subscriber today and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access
  • 7 Magazine Issues per Year
  • Companion Digital Editions
  • Digital Edition Archives
  • Bonus Email Newsletters

Subscribe Today!

Premium access to exclusive online content, companion digital editions, magazine issues and email newsletters.

Subscribe Now.


Become a PLUS+ subscriber and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access. All feature articles, bonus reports and industry research through scmr.com.

  • 7 Magazine Issues per year of Supply Chain Management Review magazine.

  • Companion Digital Editions. Searchable replicas of each magazine issue. Read them in any web browser. Delivered by email faster than printed issues.

  • Digital Editions Archives. Every article, every chart and every table as it appeared in the magazine for all archive issues back to 2009.

  • Bonus email newsletters. Add convenient weekly and monthly email newsletters to your subscription to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

PLUS+ subscriptions start as low as $109/year*. Begin yours now.
That's less than $0.36 per day for access to information that you can use year-round to better manage your entire global supply chain.

For assistance with your PLUS+ subscription, contact customer service.

* Prices higher for subscriptions outside the USA.

PLUS+ Customer Service Support


Customer service for all PLUS+ subscribers is available Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Eastern time.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-800-598-6067 (1-508-663-1500 x294 outside USA)
Mail: PO Box 1496, Framingham MA 01701-1496, USA



You have been logged out of PLUS+


For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Need to access our premium PLUS+ Content?
Upgrade your subscription now.


Our records show that you are currently receiving a free subscription to Supply Chain Management Review magazine, or your subscription has expired. To access our premium content, you need to upgrade your subscription to our PLUS+ status.

To upgrade your subscription account, please contact customer service at:

Email: [email protected] Phone: 1-800-598-6067 (1-508-663-1500 x294 outside USA)

Become a PLUS+ subscriber and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access. All feature articles, bonus reports and industry research through scmr.com.

  • 7 Magazine Issues per year of Supply Chain Management Review magazine.

  • Companion Digital Editions. Searchable replicas of each magazine issue. Read them in any web browser. Delivered by email faster than printed issues.

  • Digital Editions Archives. Every article, every chart and every table as it appeared in the magazine for all archive issues back to 2010.

  • Bonus email newsletters. Add convenient weekly and monthly email newsletters to your subscription to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

PLUS+ subscriptions start as low as $129/year*. Start yours now.
That's less than $0.36 per day for access to information that you can use year-round to better manage your entire global supply chain.

This content is available for PLUS+ subscribers.


Already a PLUS+ subscriber?


To begin or upgrade your subscription, Become a PLUS+ subscriber now.

For assistance with your PLUS+ subscription, contact customer service.

Sorry, but your login to PLUS+ has failed.


Please recheck your login information and resubmit below.



For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Shortage of skilled workers No. 1 concern, economy second for first time since 2013

ASQ survey highlights manufacturers' anticipated challenges in 2018, and how they plan to address them.

By ·
{scmr_abstract}
By ·

For the first time since 2013, the shortage of skilled workers overtakes the economy as the greatest hurdle manufacturers anticipate facing in 2018.

The mixed news of a healthy economy and a struggle to keep up with it are among the insights from the ASQ 2018 Manufacturing Outlook Survey. ASQ, a provider of training, certification, and education resources, has conducted the survey annually since 2009 to gauge manufacturing professionals’ views on the year ahead.

“The results of this year’s survey are both encouraging and cause for concern,” said ASQ Chair Eric Hayler. “While it’s great that the economy is improving, it’s troubling that manufacturers expect to struggle finding the skilled workers they need to be successful.”

According to the survey, 41% of manufacturers say finding skilled workers will be the No. 1 challenge in 2018, compared to 30% who say the economy will be their biggest hurdle.

In last year’s Manufacturing Outlook Survey, 36% of manufacturers said the economy would be the greatest challenge, compared to 30% who claimed finding skilled workers would be the biggest hurdle.

Since 2013, concern over the economy has shed roughly 5% per year. Back then, 46% of respondents cited it as a concern – nearly as much as the other four categories combined. Regulatory issues have held at between 13% and 15% in that time, as have parts shortages (~6%) and “other” (~13%).

In 2013, only 18% of manufacturers were concerned with the availability of skilled workers, rising to 30% two years later, and adding 11% since last year.

“Going into the project, we knew the economy had improved and thought it would no longer be the No. 1 challenge, but we thought the shortage of skilled workers would be a lower percentage,” says Kevin Braley, senior communications specialist for ASQ. “This is an issue that has been at the forefront of manufacturing for years, and one that still needs to be addressed. It’s clear manufacturers are still struggling with finding the right people with the right skills to do the jobs that need to be done.”

To help find the skilled candidates they currently need, 39% of respondents say they have hired an agency to help, while 30% are working with local colleges on programs that teach students the skills needed in manufacturing. Fifteen percent of respondents say they enhanced their benefits package to attract qualified candidates.

And while manufacturers are taking necessary steps to hire for vacant positions, fewer manufacturers anticipate having to fill vacant positions due to retirements; 35% said it’s very unlikely retirements will affect their organization in 2018, compared to 33% who say it will.

Regardless, 43% plan to fill the vacancies on a case-by-case basis, with 69% training new hires on the job. Twelve percent require additional, company-provided classroom training and 6% require third-party classroom training.

Furthermore, 65% of respondents said they expect salary increases in 2017, up from 61% in the 2016 survey, while less than 1% expect a salary reduction. Forty-four percent said they expect their company to increase staff, compared to 47% last year. Forty-three percent of respondents expect their organization will maintain current staffing levels, while 13% said they expect staffing cuts in 2018.

More than 650 manufacturing professionals responded to ASQ’s 2018 Manufacturing Outlook Survey, which was conducted online in October and November. Respondents represent a multitude of industries, including automotive, medical device, aerospace, and oil and gas.


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Supply Chain Management Review Magazine!

Subscribe today. Don't Miss Out!
Get in-depth coverage from industry experts with proven techniques for cutting supply chain costs and case studies in supply chain best practices.
Start Your Subscription Today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
2019 Top 5 Trends of Enterprise Labeling
This year’s sixth annual Top 5 Trends in Enterprise Labeling report outlines significant shifts in labeling that are impacting businesses and global supply chains at an unprecedented level.
Download Today!
From the January-February 2019
If history is our guide, economies take a turn every nine years. Yet time and again, a strong business cycle and fading memories convince us the good times will go on forever. Ten years after the great recession, we surveyed 100 manufacturing firms to find out if businesses are ready to fight through the next recession.
Truck Driver Shortage: No one behind the wheel
Intermodal to the rescue
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!


Latest Webcast
Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) in Manufacturing
Is Digital Transformation a risk or an opportunity? This webinar will detail Manufacturing industry challenges and how using IoT can address these challenges through optimizing logistics, improving processes and gaining meaningful insights.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Supply Chain Management Issues Confronting Us This Year
A variety of fresh challenges will surface for global traders in January and beyond
Global Supply Chain Pricing May Face New Pressures in 2019
The global economy started 2018 with strong, synchronized growth, but the momentum faded as the year...

IHS Markit’s New Economic “Predictions” for 2019 and Impact on Global Supply Chains
The U.S. will remain “above trend,” while other key economies will experience further...
Global Kuehne + Nagel Indicators Signal Global Supply Chain Resilience
So far this year, international merchandise trade has risen by 10.6%. Emerging markets and North...