Maintenance labor force
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2022 more than a quarter of the US workforce will be 55 or older.
This means that, in the short term, many companies will face many retirements, along with the loss of experience of skilled workers who will leave their jobs.
Are there any risks to industries? Will maintenance be affected by these challenges ahead?
If they are not prepared, yes. Most experienced service technicians have acquired their technical knowledge throughout their careers, however only a little of this accumulated knowledge has been documented. This could be a structural problem, more related to the company’s policies on asset management and good practices, a situation that will not help in the coming years.
A general perception in the industry is that technical careers are being less attractive to new generations. And for those who like it, and have started a maintenance career as a technician, naturally they lack of knowledge and experience.
What will be the impact?
New and inexperienced technicians are expected to learn on the job under the supervision of more experienced technicians, however, without the properly planned overlap, retirement will be imminent and some problems will appear.
Reworks, work-order backlogs and longer corrective interventions around complex repairs could be just something that maintenance managers will see more of as older technicians retire in the coming years. In any learning curve, mistakes are common, but the cost varies across industries.