Fill the skills gap: Automation, training, retention

Think Again: Fill the growing manufacturing skills gap with more automation, training, retention, benefits and amenities, according to the Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2022, other research, related articles and a May 25 webcast, “Automation experts wanted: Hire, retain the best.”

By Mark T. Hoske May 19, 2022
Courtesy: Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2022

With big automation and control challenges, answers are rarely simple. Research suggests filling the growing manufacturing skills gap with more automation, training, retention, benefits and workforce amenities. These are among the suggestions from the Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2022, other Control Engineering research, related articles on the following pages and news on the prior pages. Find more advice in a May 25 webcast, “Automation experts wanted: Hire, retain the best.”

Attract, retain with pay, benefits, environment

Pay well in salary and benefits and pay attention to key motivating factors for those you’re trying to hire and retain. Leading job satisfaction factors in the Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2022 (next pages), are technical challenge, feeling of accomplishment, financial compensation, and flexible work hours, according to survey respondents.

Automation, control investments

Automation and controls can help fill the skills gap. In separate, still unpublished Control Engineering research, “Buying Considerations for Automation Systems and Control Systems,” survey respondents were given a list of 15 product categories in automation processes; of those, respondents expected to increase in spending in 14 categories in the next 12 months. Among a list of 39 control system categories, respondents expect spending increases for all 39 in the next 12 months.

More education, hiring, retention advice

In the Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, respondents also offered advice, including consistent updates to skills and knowledge, taking advantage of employer sponsored education and mentoring. Think again about engineering career advice including:

  • Following six tips for effective mentorship from Jon Breen of Breen Machine Automation Services such as keeping the mentee involved in the process with goals, pacing and mentor selection.
  • Learning from other companies’ controls engineers to strengthen skills, advised Michael Horth, a senior controls engineer for Applied Manufacturing Technologies.
  • Accepting diverse projects, tasks, roles and responsibilities, including from other departments, to expand knowledge past an engineering focus, suggested Sam Russem, senior director of smart manufacturing solutions and Grantek Systems Integration.
  • Working with others to help low-skilled workers, build technical skills and facilitate upward career mobility. Doing so helps optimize the employers’ ability to develop and retain qualified employees and increase their competitiveness, according to Danielle Hoske, director of development, data and communications, Jane Addams Resource Center (JARC).

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology at mhoske@cfemedia.com.

CONSIDER THIS

How are you filling your skills gap?


Mark T. Hoske
Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.