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Future of Global Manufacturing Demands Better Education and Skill Development by Governments

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Fri Jan 04 2013

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“Manufacturing the Future: The Next Era of Global Growth and Innovation,” a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how manufacturing contributes to the global economy today, and how its evolution is resulting in a growing demand for highly-skilled labor across nations. 

The McKinsey report is not the first to observe that manufacturing’s role is changing. “Manufacturing the Future” does take the analysis a step further by explaining that the way manufacturing contributes to the economy shifts as nations mature. “In today’s advanced economies, manufacturing promotes innovation, productivity, and trade more than growth and employment,” the McKinsey analysts report. 

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Perhaps this is because finding skilled employment is becoming a growing factor. The report explains that manufacturers and policymakers need new approaches and capabilities to address coming skill shortages:  

“\[Companies\] will need qualified, computer-savvy factory workers and agile managers for complex global supply chains. In addition to supporting ongoing efforts to improve public education—particularly the teaching of math and analytical skills—policymakers must work with industry and educational institutions to ensure that skills learned in school fit the needs of employers.” Indeed, the need for more high-skilled workers is growing and “shortages of workers with training in technical and analytical specialties is already appearing.” 

According to the research, the issue is not limited to advanced economies. SAE-China is reporting a shortage of engineers. Likewise, India automaker Ashok Layland states, “talent acquisition is a huge challenge in the last two years and it’s worsening now.”  

“Manufacturing the Future” contends that governments may need to step in to help businesses ease the skill shortage. McKinsey analysts write: “To prepare young people for emerging manufacturing jobs, governments can develop vocational training that leads to industry-wide and nationwide certification.” 

Download the “Manufacturing the Future: The Next Era of Global Growth and Innovation” from the McKinsey Global Institute to learn more. McKinsey analysts for the report include James Manyika, Jeff Sinclair, Richard Dobbs, Gernot Strube, Louis Rassey, Jan Mischke, Jaana Remes, Charles Roxburgh, Katy George, David O'Halloran, and Sreenivas Ramaswamy.

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