If your company is a manufacturer of plastic products, there is a pretty good chance that you’ve heard about or perhaps experienced first hand the skilled labor shortage that is affecting the plastics industry.
This article from the Plastics News website, highlights the issue.
Finding people to fill your entry-level injection molding jobs and then giving those new employees some “basic injection molding training” is probably easier than finding job candidates with experience who are in your geographic area and are looking to move to a new opportunity. Well-trained, experienced plastics professionals are in high demand. That demand drives up prices. So you are competing with all the other companies around you for the same skilled workers.
One way to get and retain good employees is to offer them training and a clear step-by-step path to promotions and pay raises. Turnover is a fact of business life. But it doesn’t have to be a crisis every time one of your best employees leaves. With an internal training system in place, you can literally “grow your own” experts. More and more plastics manufacturers are choosing that path to free themselves from the constraints of the skilled labor market.
Longer term, however, there needs to be systemic changes in the way the plastics industry “advertises” itself to the younger generation.
At Paulson, we’ve been in the training business for over 35 years. I have yet to hear of plastics courses being offered at the high school level anywhere in the country. Even at the college level, there are not nearly enough plastics engineering programs to fill the demands of the industry.
What we are seeing, however, is plastics manufacturing companies partnering with local schools to start plastics programs that will graduate qualified employees to supply those local plastics manufacturing companies.
The problem is not just in the injection molding industry either, all of the major plastics processing industries – injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, etc. are reporting the same problems.
So if you want to solve your company’s skilled labor shortage, consider offering comprehensive training that includes a clearly defined pathway to promotions and raises. We’ve set programs like this up for many of our customers and we’ve seen many of our customers do it themselves using a blend of our courses and internal resources.
If our industry as a whole wants to solve its skilled labor shortage, there needs to be an outreach to the younger generation that positions the plastics manufacturing industry (the 4th largest manufacturing industry in the world) as an attractive career path that offers huge opportunities for students that are willing to do the work.
Below is a video excerpt from our entry-level Injection Molding Fundamentals program.