Posted By Jeff Moad, October 10, 2013 at 5:07 PM, in Category: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce
Are young people in the U.S. and other developed economies the only ones turning away from manufacturing careers in favor of service industry and other jobs seen as easier, cleaner, and cooler? Apparently young people in China are increasingly feeling the same way, according to Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn.
Gou, who runs one of the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturers with hundreds of thousands of employees in China, reportedly lamented to an audience at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia, that, ““They want to work in services or the Internet or another more easy and relaxed job, ” Gou said. “Many workers are moving to the services sector and [now] in the manufacturing sector, total demand [for workers] is now more than supply,” Gou added.
Manufacturers in China have begun to take steps to find more ready sources of labor, shifting some production to the country’s interior and, in Gou’s case, accelerating automation.
Manufacturers in China also are reportedly turning to older workers as younger ones seek opportunities outside of manufacturing.
Even if manufacturers in China are able to control their labor gap problem, continued higher labor costs are likely to be one result.
Will the labor shortage turn out to be a long-term challenge for manufacturers in China? What does it mean for customers in the U.S. and elsewhere?
Written by Jeff Moad
Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit