SMMs cite employee recruitment as major issue
In 2016, approximately 46.7 percent of small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms (SMMs) receiving services from Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers expect challenges in the next three years related to employee recruitment, up from 19.1 percent in 2009, according to a recent survey of MEP client companies. While employee recruitment needs have grown over the last seven years, the top two challenges remained the same – cost reduction (70 percent of all respondents in 2016) and growth (53.5 percent). The findings come from an annual NIST MEP survey of their clients – small manufacturers across the United States.
While many of the challenges have decreased or at least remained level over the last seven years, the share of clients citing technology needs as a challenge rose by 4 percentage points — from roughly 10 percent in 2009 to over 14 percent in 2016. In good news, the share of clients identifying financing as a challenge fell from 18 percent in 2009 to under 10 percent in 2016. Other issues faced by MEP client companies include: product development (45.4 percent); sustainability (21 percent); managing partners (13 percent); and, exporting challenges (7.1 percent).