While the face of manufacturing is fast evolving, it is far from dying. Manufacturing in America is still growing strong despite assumptions that the economy would suddenly become a service based, high tech one. As a matter of fact, America has been experiencing a renaissance in manufacturing over the last few years, and graduates are now in high demand across many levels. Here are seven reasons why you should consider pursuing a career in manufacturing.
The Skills Gap Creates Opportunity for Qualified Individuals
Manufacturing is begging for skilled workers, and there are thousands of manufacturing jobs unfilled, ranging from logistics, to programming, to the skilled trades.
The issue is that a whole generation of students has avoided manufacturing because of a general stigma against manual labor and the inconveniences and dangers that come with it. While manufacturing may have been a more dangerous sector with sometimes poorer conditions 50 years ago, this myth doesn’t hold true today.
But what is true, however, is that the manufacturing workforce skews older than average. This is why 40% of manufacturers are experiencing a skills shortage and 60% expect to experience it in the next few years as their current labor force hits retirement in far greater numbers than the general population.
You Could Learn for Free – Or Get Paid to Learn
Manufacturers are so short on talent that they’re expanding their educational partnerships. Paid apprenticeships have existed in manufacturing for years, but they’re roaring back with increasing slots for anyone willing to enter them.
On top of this, tech schools and community colleges are offering scholarships to those willing to study in any number of industries that manufacturers need more graduates in. If you earn an associate’s degree and work for the company, there is a good chance they’ll offer tuition assistance as you move on to a four-year school or related master’s program.
High Tech Equals High Pay
Those who may have been interested in the field shunned it because they thought manufacturing was going extinct due to international outsourcing and automation.
Automation has reduced the number of low skill workers needed to produce goods, but it hasn’t eliminated the need for people ranging from mechanics to packagers to engineers in the factory. The greater level of skill or education required to fill these roles has increased the typical pay for those working in manufacturing. The average manufacturing worker earns around a sixth more than those in other industries.
The Faster Rate of Change Creates Opportunity Too
The rate of change is breathtaking. New models of electronics roll off the assembly line every year or two, while technologies and consumer demands can change in an instant. This prevents assembly lines from being laid out and left in that same configuration for years.
Yet businesses face the same pressure to do more with less. They need to reduce waste, increase productivity, reduce costs and meet production quotas faster. This is why manufacturers hire a variety of consultants, especially “lean” experts.
And you don’t have to earn an industrial engineering degree to work in this area. If you earn a master of science lean manufacturing degree online, you’ll gain the process knowledge, Lean Six Sigma skills, and other continuous process improvement methodologies that manufacturers require. Furthermore, you’ll gain an understanding of supply chain management, operations management and other areas that can lead to a better paying job. For example, the lean manufacturing master’s degree could allow you to step into a job in product development, procurement, quality management or consulting.
Another benefit of working in manufacturing given this fast rate of change is that you’re not going to be doing the same thing day in day out.
Your Work Has Real Life Implications
Design a manufacturing process to use less material or make the product without using a particular chemical, and you’ve had a greater environmental impact than nearly anyone else around you. Solve problems on the shop floor and prove that it is widely applicable, and you could end up solving issues thousands of companies are experiencing.
When you improve the quality of the product without increasing its cost or reduce costs, management recognizes you because they can clearly see how your work benefits the organization. Do well, and you’ll have many opportunities for growth and development. And you won’t have to sit at a desk all day to improve processes, you’ll actually get to go out there and make things happen on the ground. You’ll have the chance to use both your head and your hands and bring your solutions to life.
Exciting Job Opportunities
The wide variety of exciting positions available in manufacturing is another reason why manufacturing is such a great career option. Whether you want to work in the food industry, pharmaceuticals, or aerospace, you’ll be at the forefront of the most recent developments in key industries and understand how they will affect our day to day lives.
You Will Help Contribute to the Economy
Manufacturing helps support national and global economies, as well as families and individuals. According to recent research, manufacturing remains one of the most important sectors when it comes to fueling economic growth, and about 80% of Americans stated that they believed a strong manufacturing sector was essential to maintain America’s life quality.
Additional research also shown that manufacturing’s multiplier effects surpass any other sector in the economy. As a matter of fact, the manufacturing industry returns $1.81 to the economy for every dollar spent. The manufacturing sector alone returns over 2 trillion US dollars every year to the American economy.
Manufacturing has a direct effect on jobs, livelihoods, and the community at large. Working in manufacturing is certainly something anybody can be proud of.
The public perception of manufacturing is not just outdated, it is often plainly wrong. Manufacturing offers tons of great and exciting opportunities and will continue to do so for years to come. Manufacturing has a bright future, and it offers the same for those who choose to work there.