Survey: Mass. manufacturers struggling to find workers

A survey conducted by the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth found that 33 percent of state manufacturers say they're having trouble finding workers.

Additionally, 60 percent of the same companies said they expect to grow their production work force in the next two years.

More than 1,300 firms participated in the survey, done for the Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy.

The worker supply problem was particularly bad in the fabricated metals and machinery sector. The survey found nearly half of those companies are struggling to find needed employees.

The UMass survey also found:

  • {}Ninety percent of firms surveyed agreed that, if a potential production worker has the right attitude and basic skills, they are willing and able to provide them with the additional training required.
  • {}Seventy-nine percent indicated that they have the resources they require to train new production workers. Eight-three percent reported having the resources to train existing production staff.
  • {}Fifty-seven percent of firms reported that they require their new production workers to have relevant industry experience. Seventy-nine percent reported that they prefer their new production workers to have experience.
  • A strong majority of firms report that they have never worked with key public institutions, including their local comprehensive high schools (73 percent), community colleges (69 percent), four-year universities (76 percent), and workforce investment boards (83 percent). Sixteen percent reported working regularly or frequently with temporary staffing agencies and 10 percent report working closely with vocational high schools.

The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 2.7 percent.