How to Overcome the U.S. Labor Shortage in Metalcasting
COVID-19 and supply chain issues have frequently made headlines over the last few years. Unfortunately, we are not entirely out of the woods yet. We are currently seeing some of the long-term effects of these global issues. One of these effects is a labor shortage in several industries, including metalcasting.
According to a study by Deloitte, 1.4 million manufacturing jobs were lost during the pandemic due to layoffs and retirements. Although they were able to hire new people for over half of these lost jobs, there are still about 500,000 unfilled positions. In addition, Deloitte estimated that 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could be left unfilled by 2030.
As more experienced baby boomers retire, the shortage of skilled workers has risen. On top of this, young people are less interested in manufacturing jobs than previous generations, leading to fewer people entering the field to replace all the retirees. Obtaining skilled candidates and automating your workflow is more important than ever so your employees can focus on what needs to be done manually.
Raise Awareness Towards the Importance of Metalcasting
Metalcasting jobs are often considered undesirable by younger people. And this isn’t their fault; many misconceptions exist regarding metalcasting and manufacturing work. Many people have heard that manufacturing jobs consist of working in an assembly line or that there is no future due to outsourcing labor.
Instead of writing it off as hopeless due to the U.S. labor shortage, promote jobs within the manufacturing field at job fairs, colleges, and high schools. Tell prospective workers about the variety within the field (i.e., foundry, recycling, mining, processing, metalcasting, etc.) and expand their horizons. Raising awareness about misconceptions within the field will lead to more individuals pursuing these jobs and reduce the labor shortage.
Take the American Foundry Society as an example. AFS is a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for and promoting the metalcasting industry and getting people, both young and old, involved. They have programs such as metalcasting chapters for students to get hands-on experiences and others like the women in metalcasting program so more women can get involved in a male-dominated field.
Close the Skill Gap to Combat the Labor Shortage
Though the skill gap is often considered a myth, we’re seeing a labor shortage due to the lack of skilled workers. According to The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 35% of manufacturing jobs would be left unfilled even if every experienced individual in America was employed. By 2025, 22% of skilled manufacturing workers are expected to retire, increasing the gap between skilled and unskilled laborers.
Combatting the labor shortage using hands-on training would be a strategic move to close the skill gap and raise awareness of the reality of metalcasting work. Consider hosting courses (similar to “boot camps” for other fields) where you offer training and education to allow potential workers to gain relevant skills. Go to trade shows or career fairs and provide opportunities for people to get familiar with your company’s technology and answer any questions.
Invest in Lower Maintenance Equipment
Using equipment that can be automated whenever possible will reduce the amount of operator intervention required, meaning you will not need as many people to keep it running smoothly. Automation cuts out some of the unfilled positions caused by a labor shortage. You’ll still need people to ensure everything runs smoothly. But in this case, you’ll need significantly fewer laborers than using non-automated equipment.
For example, the VIBRA-DRUM® Sand and Casting Conditioner is easier to feed, unload, and maintain. Because it offers 3-in-1 sand conditioning, casting/cooling, and shakeout, it saves foundry space and requires no human interaction outside of maintenance.
Another good example would be General Kinematics Vibrating Furnace Charge Feeders. These charge feeders give you automated batch control, and the automation removes the need for multiple workers to interact with them, making them safer. The charge feeder only requires one operator and an individual who loads materials, significantly less than our competitor’s equipment.
Battle the Labor Shortage With General Kinematic’s Automated Equipment
Automation means fewer hands on deck and makes dealing with the labor shortage much easier. If you want to see how General Kinematic’s equipment can help you with the labor shortage, get in touch today, and our experts will help you find the right automation for your business.