About a third of companies surveyed by the Manufacturing Institute said they had had to turn away new work because they didn't have enough workers. So companies and state and local governments are increasing recruiting efforts to lure workers to rural areas, offering higher wages, tax incentives for relocation, enhanced training, and even student-loan forgiveness. Long-term, some are partnering with local schools to try to grow and retain local talent. Some companies are offering incentives to keep older employees from retiring, or re-hiring them as consultants or part-time contractors, Rosen reports. And some companies are hiring skilled foreign laborers, though the work visas can be difficult to get and unpopular with local residents.
No results are yet available to show the efficacy of such efforts, but the shortage is likely to be a problem for years to come: up to 2 million skilled jobs could go unfilled by 2025, according to a 2015 report from the Manufacturing Institute.