According to a 2018 study, “the U.S. will have to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, with more than 2 million of them going unfilled because of the lack of highly skilled candidates in demand.”
In addition, a Deloitte survey found that global manufacturing executives believed the search for skilled talent was the key driver of manufacturing competitiveness, and they see a clear talent shortage in the US manufacturing sector.
While a talent shortage in API manufacturing has been discussed for some time now, the talk has diminished recently as more urgent issues, such as the pandemic, take center stage. Yet, the shortage of qualified talent and its impact on the next generation of scientists, could have devastating consequences on the country’s global competitiveness, as well as scientific innovation.
Consider that while COVID-19 has uncovered weaknesses in the supply chain and our reliance on off-shore manufacturing, the fact of the matter is that even if we’re able to re-onshore manufacturing back to the U.S., will we have the people to fill those jobs?
The key to keeping U.S. competitiveness strong lies in how we teach students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2019, 1.9 million STEM educated professionals will be needed in the U.S. However, the bureau reports that approximately 40 percent of students who intend to major in STEM end up switching to other subjects. Part of the problem cited in the article is that students are more interested in subjects that provide hands-on learning as opposed to theory.
API manufacturers everywhere struggle with the need to fill key positions across the board – from chemists and engineers, to project managers, quality control managers and operators. So how can we fill key positions and raise interest among the next generation to build upon the nation’s position as a leader in drug discovery, development and manufacturing? Below are five ways:
We can’t let a lack of talent diminish the nation’s ability to innovate and manufacture new drugs and medical treatments, yet to reignite the field requires collaboration and cooperation among private business, the government and our education system. Perhaps by being open minded, embracing a diverse workforce and doing away with age-old notions of what defines success, we can begin to set the stage for a new generation of talent.
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