U.S. manufacturers are seeking skilled workers, leaving jobs open for months, reports Reuters.
Technology giant Siemens Corp., the U.S. arm of Germany’s Siemens AG , has over 3,000 jobs open all over the country. More than half require science, technology, engineering and math-related skills.
Despite the high unemployment rate, “it’s very difficult to find skilled people,” said Jeff Owens, president of ATS, a manufacturing consulting services company with 200 open positions.
Most open jobs are for skilled trades workers, information technology professionals, engineers, sales reps and machine operators.
Many college graduates lack the science and math skills to fill manufacturing jobs, said Dennis Bray, president and CEO of Contour Precision Group. The South Carolina company has been looking for six technicians since last year.
Businesses are pushing for visas to import more high-skilled foreigners.
Repetitive, semi-skilled jobs have been computerized or shipped overseas. Most laid-off workers will not be recalled, unless they’ve upgraded their skills significantly.
“The old jobs are not coming back. We need to invest in education and training to get people prepared to fill these high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future,” said Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens Corp.
The new jobs pay quite well: Workers can start at $30 an hour. Engineers earn $75,000 to $100,000 a year. Siemens is offering an average of $89,000 a year for its unfilled positions.
Both Siemens and ATS are training military veterans for skilled manufacturing jobs.
“We have found that veterans have extensive technical training and experience that they gain through military service, and these skills are extremely valuable to us and match up well with many of our over 3,000 open positions,” Spiegel said.
Industry leaders also are partnering with colleges to update vocational training. However, community colleges don’t enroll many students with the math skills needed for advanced manufacturing.