Worker skills a key challenge for employers

Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), said that understanding the new skill set joining the workforce is the top challenge facing the manufacturing industry moving forward and it is not going away.


While acknowledging cybersecurity is a major concern moving forward, understanding the new skill set joining the workforce is the top challenge facing the industry moving forward.

"Cybersecurity is a technical problem and we will solve technical problems, but it may take a while," said Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) during his Wednesday keynote at the 2016 Honeywell Users Group Americas conference in San Antonio, Tex. "The problem we have now is all about skills. The real challenge is how to track people."

Kapur admitted that security is a big problem and a daunting challenge, but it will end up solved over a matter of time. He equated the security issue to safety, where there was a problem, but they were able to solve it for the most part.

However, understanding and working with a new skill set hitting the workforce is a huge issue, Kapur said.

The younger workforce is becoming a larger influence in the workplace and that means we all have to adopt and adapt to new methodologies. By 2025, millennials will be 75% of the workforce, he said.

Meanwhile the aging workforce today, those described as having more than 20 years in the industry, was at 29% in 2010 and was at 14% in 2014, Kapur said.

Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), talked about how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will help manufacturers gather and analyze a broader range of data across multiple plants and operations more efficiently at the 41st anIn an industry that does not adapt to change very well, it will have to also handle a newer generation that operates much differently:

  • Sixty-five percent end up held back by outdated and rigid work styles
  • Forty-one percent prefer to communicate electronically
  • 2 years is the average company tenure.

There are quite a few benefits with a younger workforce coming into the industry. One of the benefits is the newer generation adopts new technology much quicker.

Along those lines, while it takes up to two years to get a worker to become productive, that will have to change. In keeping with the trend of workers leaving an employer after two years, the ramp time to becoming more productive needs to reduce down to 6 months from 2 years.

"Competency development is a big challenge for us," Kapur said.

Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (, a news and information Website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, Control

ONLINE extra

See additional stories from ISSSource about the IIoT below.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me