The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research and national CPA and advisory firm BKD released results from their first survey of small and medium-sized manufacturers. Manufacturing leaders were asked to describe the “new normal” for operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key survey findings include the following:
• More than 77% expect to continue struggling to identify talent in 2021 and beyond.
• Nearly 64% had reevaluated what work could be done remotely where possible.
• More than 83% had enhanced workplace safety measures and requirements.

“It may seem like a paradox, but even with pandemic-induced unemployment, manufacturers are still facing challenges finding the workers they need. With about half a million jobs open in manufacturing, that need is great—perhaps even greater than before the pandemic,” said Center for Manufacturing Research Director and National Association of Manufacturers Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “These findings continue to demonstrate the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s efforts to reduce the skills gap and get more people onto modern manufacturing career paths—including through its Creators Wanted campaign with the National Association of Manufacturers.

“The survey also reveals the diverse ways that small and medium-sized manufacturers have adapted to the pandemic—and what they expect in the coming months. It captures manufacturers, in their own words, describing the future of everything from virtual work and flexible schedules to new product lines and price pressures.”

“BKD is proud to partner with The Manufacturing Institute on this survey. It is clear the pandemic has had a significant impact on small and medium-sized manufacturers,” said BKD CPAs & Advisors National Industry Partner John Mather. “Not all the impacts are the same, and the results show a variety of concerns. With that in mind, The Manufacturing Institute continues to play an important role is assisting these businesses with their challenges. Creators Wanted is a great example of how The Manufacturing Institute is making an impact.”

View the full survey at