According to a recent survey by Accenture and the American Chemical Council, North American chemical suppliers are facing a problem of staff turnover, which, if not resolved, could lead to more unplanned operational disruption, more recruitment and training costs, and greater efforts in maintaining security.
The report was released today at the annual business meeting of the Commission. Chemical suppliers are facing “a shortage of experienced workers and a large number of baby boomers that are about to retire” in the coming years, the survey found. More than 20 percent of chemical industry employees will be close to retirement in the next three to five years, 40 percent of respondents said. About a quarter of North American chemical companies retain 90 percent or more millennial employees recruited over the past three years, compared with 30 to 50 per cent of millennial turnover in most companies.
86 percent of respondents said the profitability of the chemical industry would be seriously affected if the problem of labor aging is not resolved in the next three to five years. Of these, 49 percent of chemical suppliers agree, 37 percent strongly agree, and currently expect North American industries to continue to expand. “
For some companies, the challenge is to have millennials in a long-term and productive career in what is considered “old” despite the industry’s record of innovation, Accenture consulting and ACC say.
“Companies in all industries have employees of different ages,” said Julie sweet, North American chief executive of Accenture“ We found that employees of different ages want meaningful work, opportunities to make meaningful contributions, and to balance their lives. By focusing on transparency, providing highly personalized employee experience around these values and providing a feedback loop that keeps close contact with employees, the company can attract and motivate the best people of several generations. “
Other results of the report include:
Most chemical suppliers compete with their peers, mainly by recruiting from other companies in the industry to fill vacancies; 52 percent of chemical companies reported hiring professionals from their competitors.
New technologies are changing the workforce – nearly two thirds of respondents say half or more of the workforce is changing compared to three years ago, thanks to the emergence of “new skills, automation, robots and cognitive agents.”. Most (78 per cent) expect further changes in the automation of digital technology, which will lead to a modest (56 per cent) to a significant (22 per cent) reduction in labour, but more technical support is still needed. “
“In general, we are fighting for talent in many ways,” said Inga Carus, a member of ACC’s board and chairman of Carus“ We must not only hire the right people after the retirement of our old employees, but also pass on their knowledge to young employees, but we must also narrow the gap with the millennials and be excited about the work we have done in chemistry when we develop new products that meet the needs of their generation. “
“Despite all these labor problems, 60 percent of chemical suppliers say they are adapting to digital technology but have encountered some resistance,” added David yankovitz, general manager and head of chemicals operations at Accenture“ They also recognize that in order to gain competitive advantage, they need to embrace digital technology. As the industry overcomes this resistance and promotes a people-oriented approach to strengthen the workforce, new products and services will succeed in many areas, from production plants to back-end to markets. “
The survey was compiled from more than 500 chemical industry respondents from April to may, including 112 Canadians. Accenture and ACC say more than 80 percent of the companies surveyed earn more than $1billion a year.