North American chemical companies face workforce turnover issues, which if not resolved, could mean more unplanned operations disruptions, more hiring and training costs and more efforts to maintain safety, reports a new survey by Accenture and the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
Chemical companies face a shortage of experienced workers and must replace a substantial number of retiring baby boomers in the coming years. More than 20% of the chemicals workforce is approaching retirement in the next three to five years, said 40% of respondents. If the aging workforce issue is not resolved in the next three to five years, 86% said the chemical industry’s profitability will suffer significantly.
Approximately one quarter of North American chemicals companies retained 90% or more of their millennial employees hired in the past three years, according to ACC. Most saw a 30-50% attrition rate among millennials. This compares with a recent Accenture Strategy study showing that new university graduates expect to stay on the job for more than three years.
“Abundant supplies of domestic natural gas from shale have moved the U.S. from being a high-cost producer of key petrochemicals and resins to among the lowest cost producers globally, creating a period of unprecedented growth,” says ACC president and CEO Cal Dooley. “We currently have more than 262 new chemical projects announced that are valued at over $161 billion. For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. chemical industry is once again creating good, high-paying American jobs and it’s vital that we be able to attract and retain a talented workforce that helps us continue to drive economic expansion, innovation and global competitiveness.”
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