North American Manufacturers Concerned About Skills Shortage and Government Over-Regulation

Helsinki, Finland, February 25, 2011 --( Most North American manufacturers see the retirement of skilled workers as a key detriment to business growth over 2011-2012, according to an industry poll conducted by Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA), a global strategic market intelligence and advisory group. Government over-regulation was the second highest rated challenge. On a more positive note, recovery of US/European markets is seen as the top growth opportunity for North American manufacturers, followed by the growing interest in safety and standards.

Conducted in late 2010, the GIA online poll asked 95 executives at global manufacturers of steel, testing and measurement equipment and agriculture and construction products in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America about their main growth opportunities and challenges/threats for 2011-2012.

The key findings were:
• In 2011-2012, global manufacturers plan to drive business growth by improving resource efficiency, leveraging the growth of contract logistics and attracting, training and retaining workforce talent. Exactly how they go about it will differ widely by region.

• Workforce skills are the top source of worry for all manufacturers, over and above bank lending, oil prices or government regulation. Nearly 60% North American manufacturers believe the retirement of skilled workers to be their key challenge, while slightly over 50% European manufacturers believe it is the lack of skilled manpower. Businesses in Latin America and Asia-Pacific cite lack of creativity and lack of skilled manpower (62%) as their top two workforce related challenges.

• North American based manufacturers are relatively conservative regarding the impact of growth from contract logistics and predict that consequent benefits will result in less than 10% business growth. Firms in Asia-Pacific and Latin America are more bullish, with around 60% predicting that the upturn in the contract logistics industry can lead to an incremental growth in their businesses by at least 10%.

“Over these next two years, manufacturing firms are focused on finding ways of increasing competitive advantage while global recovery trends upwards. The US economy is expected to grow about 2% this year. Manufacturers cannot continue to rely on public sector stimulus and need to invest more in innovation and increase export competitiveness. This is where the expected lack of skilled workers hits manufacturers hard,” said Jouko Virtanen, President for GIA North America. “US manufacturers have been investing in sites in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and Vietnam where the costs are lower, as one way to increase their export competitiveness. Emerging markets also represent significant sales growth drivers for US manufacturers - we have seen some growth estimates of emerging market sales for 2011 that are as high as 40%.”

 For charts and more findings from the GIA manufacturing and industrial poll, please visit the GIA website.

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About Global Intelligence Alliance
Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA) is a strategic market intelligence and advisory group. GIA was formed in 1995 when a team of market intelligence specialists, management consultants, industry analysts and technology experts came together to build a powerful suite of customized solutions ranging from outsourced market monitoring services and software, to strategic analysis and advisory.

Today, we are the preferred partner for organizations seeking to understand, compete and grow in international markets. Our industry expertise and coverage of over 100 countries enables our customers to make better informed decisions worldwide.

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Jennifer Tow