Wooden Pallet Industry Workforce Challenges (July 2023)

NWPCA & MI Publish New Wooden Pallet Industry Workforce Study

The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) published a new study, Wooden Pallet Industry Workforce Challenges, which identifies the key workforce challenges that wooden pallet companies are facing as well as the efficacy of solutions being tested at the company level. NWPCA partnered with the Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research (MI) to conduct the study, which consisted of an online survey and in-depth interviews with members that took place from March through May 2023.

While almost every industry in the manufacturing sector has reported facing workforce challenges in a post-pandemic world, this study specifically identified the challenges that are most pressing to the wooden pallet industry: recruitment, hiring, and retention. The report also compiled helpful insights from wooden pallet companies that have been implementing creative solutions around those top challenges.

“This study provided a critical opportunity for us to better understand the workforce challenges facing the wood pallet industry and the manufacturing sector at large, by hearing directly from our member companies,” said Jason Ortega, NWPCA Vice President of Public Affairs.

“We look forward to continuing the conversations this study has sparked. As we look to take action informed by these initial findings, we are grateful to our partners at MI for helping us conduct this critical research and to our members for their ongoing commitment to the workforce that moves the world one pallet at a time.”

“The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers—is constantly seeking solutions to address the toughest structural workforce problems in our industry to bolster the workforce of tomorrow. In the NAM’s Q2 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, 74% of manufacturers identified attracting and retaining a quality workforce as their top challenge. To unleash innovation and competitiveness in America, we must address the labor shortages hurting every sector of our economy,” said MI Director of Manufacturing Research and NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “This study identifies a critical three-pronged solution for NWPCA to implement for its member companies through second chance hiring, in-person workshops and educational webcasts to fix labor shortages in the industry. The MI is proud to conduct this research for the wood pallet industry as it is a critical component to the manufacturing supply chain.”

As the voice of the wooden pallet and container industry, NWPCA is committed to continuing this important research with the MI, along with adopting recommendations that will continue to bring attention and innovative solutions to this critical workforce.

NWPCA members may access the full report here. Non-members interested in learning more about the key findings and recommendations may access the Executive Summary here.


About the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association

The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is the world’s largest organization of wood packaging professionals. NWPCA has over 750 companies that manufacture, repair, and distribute pallets and wood packaging in unit-load solutions or supply products and services to the industry. For more information on NWPCA, visit www.palletcentral.com.

About the Manufacturing Institute Center for Manufacturing Research

The Manufacturing Institute builds a resilient manufacturing workforce prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future. Through implementing groundbreaking programs, convening industry leaders and conducting innovative research, the MI furthers individual opportunity, community prosperity and a more competitive manufacturing industry. As the 501(c)3 nonprofit workforce development and education affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, the MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with solutions to address the toughest workforce issues. For more information on the MI, please visit www.themanufacturinginstitute.org.

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