When it comes to choosing a career, manufacturing has traditionally had a bad rap. Previous generations knew it as a sector with poor working conditions, few career opportunities, and a high risk of being laid off due to cuts, automation, or both. While this might have been true 15 or 20 years ago, manufacturing today isn’t anything like it used to be.
Two million unfilled jobs
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be added by 2020. Yet two million of those jobs will go unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. In fact, as Silvia Ascarelli points out in her MarketWatch article “Why U.S. companies pay headhunters $15,000 to fill manufacturing jobs,” employers are so desperate for blue-collar employees with the right skills that they’re willing to resort to costly recruitment tactics traditionally reserved for CEOs and other top white-collar talent.
Manufacturing is increasingly high tech
Manufacturing is a broad sector that encompasses everything from the mass production of power trains for vehicles to making small batches of specialized medical equipment. And due to new and emerging technologies like 3D printing and robotics, many manufacturing workplaces are fast-paced, innovative settings that are quick to adopt the most cutting-edge high tech developments. There’s a need for workers at all levels, from entry-level trade workers to experienced engineers, to fill positions in the production process. In addition, manufacturers also need marketing, customer support, and administrative personnel.
When it comes to salaries, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. In the article “Parents Have Misconceptions of Manufacturing Careers,” IndustryWeek reports that the average manufacturing worker makes $77,506 per year. Because it’s so challenging for employers to find employees with the right skills, that amount could increase in the coming years. It’s also important to understand that manufacturing employers typically prefer long-term employees over short-term workers. With that in mind, it’s likely that a growing number of companies will offer career development support and other perks as a part of their employment packages.
In short, manufacturing has a lot to offer: exciting and innovative work, numerous job opportunities, good salaries, and room for development. So if you’re looking for a career with potential, a job in manufacturing might be right for you!
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