Study finds skills gap among heavy-equipment industry job seekers

This graphic represents projected available jobs and projected workers that are qualified to fill them. | Courtesy of the AEDF

A study from the Associated Equipment Distributors Foundation (AEDF), in partnership with the William & Mary University Department of Public Policy, indicates a significant skills gap in the U.S. heavy-equipment distribution industry's job market.

A fact sheet released by the AEDF said approximately 11.34 percent of available jobs go unfilled due to limitations in the workforce. This statistic across the country in reported sectors is estimated to be 3.7 percent.

The fact sheet also said the skills gap keeps many companies from meeting customer demand, and it has been cited as a reason for slower growth. The shortage has been attributed to low levels of technical skills in the workforce.

“This report provides a window into the current state of our industry’s workforce,” Associated Equipment Distributors President and CEO Brian McGuire said. “Distributors have known for far too long that finding the right people is tough, and it’s getting tougher. A report like this tells policymakers this isn’t just an anecdotal or local problem, it’s a national crisis.”

The AEDF said this shortage has costed the heavy-equipment industry approximately $2.4 billion a year.

The report recommends that state-level initiatives be strengthened to facilitate coordination between employers and educators. It also recommends that adjustments be made for national workforce policies that support technically focused programs and careers.