Today, US manufacturing is widely misunderstood, especially among young people. Manufacturing remains central in the world economy yet is seen as an outdated and dying industry. While jobs may have decreased over the years, output hasn’t. Manufacturers are becoming more productive and continue to improve their industrial processes. The addition of advanced machinery has created a need for skilled workers, and as older workers begin to retire, the demand for workers will be even greater.
According to a recent study by Deloitte, manufacturers will need to hire 4 million workers between now and 2030. Yet, over 2 million of those jobs could go unfilled because of the skills gap.
Below are some of the most common misconceptions surrounding the manufacturing industry.
6 Misconceptions of the Manufacturing Industry
1. Manufacturing is a poor career choice
When it comes to career decisions, manufacturing has traditionally had a bad rap. Earlier generations knew manufacturing to be dirty and dangerous, with the constant fear of layoffs due to cuts and automation. This may have been true 20 years ago, but today manufacturing looks much different.
There’s a need for workers at all levels in manufacturing, such as entry-level trade workers, service technicians, programmers, application engineers, software engineers, and more. In addition, jobs are also available in accounting, marketing, sales, and customer service.
Additionally, manufacturing employers typically prefer long-term employees over short-term employees. Many companies offer career development opportunities and tend to promote within when possible. As baby boomers continue to retire, leadership positions will be available for those looking to grow in their careers.
2. Manufacturing jobs are on the decline
Manufacturing is still one of the largest job sectors in the US. Manufacturers are struggling to find workers, and the truth is, the manufacturing industry needs jobs. There are more unfilled manufacturing jobs than there are qualified workers to fill them. Manufacturing executives are concerned about their ability to meet customer demands with the widening skills gap and lack of young employees. With baby boomers retiring throughout the upcoming decade, there aren’t nearly enough employees entering the manufacturing workforce to fill those open jobs.
3. Manufacturing jobs don’t pay well
Manufacturing is a massive industry with many different professions, so it is hard to look at it as a lump sum. However, the average manufacturing wages in Ohio exceed the average of all other industries by $11,000/year. Workers in manufacturing are also more likely to have better employee benefits than those in other industries.
“ You don’t realize how much reach you can have and how much good you can do in the world just through manufacturing.”
4. There’s no work-life flexibility
When many people think of manufacturing, they think of a factory with multiple shifts and strict timelines. However, the industry has recently shifted. Flex Machine Tools offers flexible hours to fit their employee’s schedules best, and many other businesses in the manufacturing sector are following suit. This is an increasingly attractive perk that gives employees the needed time away from work.
Nick Kennedy, CEO of Flex Machine Tools, said, “we want to make things more attractive to our employees. We take a lot of pride in giving our employees a lot of flexibility and really listening to them. This allows us to attract the best talent.”
5. Women aren’t welcome in manufacturing
In the male-dominated industry, many people think that women aren’t welcome or belong in manufacturing. Women make up only 29% of the workforce, and companies are always looking to attract more women.
Tiffany Bonifas, Marketing Manager at Flex Machine Tools, believes women shouldn’t be afraid of the industry. “I was hesitant to get into manufacturing. I was afraid the male employees wouldn’t think I was qualified or knew anything about the industry, but the exact opposite happened. All the males I worked with were very welcoming and open to helping me learn new things. I’ve been seeing more and more women getting into jobs that men historically held. It’s exciting to see women getting into manufacturing, doing all the things the men are doing, and doing it just as well. Women shouldn’t be afraid of this industry. Manufacturing is an excellent career choice, and I couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else.”
6. Manufacturing is dark, dirty, and dangerous
Gone are the days of dark, dingy factories with poor air quality and dangerous machines. Manufacturing looks much different now. Many modern manufacturing sites are high-tech production facilities that are safe, clean, and protect the well-being of their employees.
When you step into the Flex Machine Tools shop, you will find a clean, modern, and inviting atmosphere with workers operating sophisticated computer numerically controlled equipment. The shop is equipped with bright lights, walls, and flooring—a far cry from what factories once were.
7. Robots are replacing humans
It is physically impossible for human workers to compete with the productivity of a robot, and many fear that automation will replace jobs now and in the future. However, automation replacing workers completely rarely happens. While it’s true that robots eliminate some manufacturing jobs, it’s also creating jobs and making them safer. Robots allow manufacturers to shift their focus to adding more skilled human workers who can design, innovate, and think critically. Robots are not stealing jobs; they are simply shifting jobs.
“ Manufacturing in the United States is what the country has been built on.”
Manufacturing has a lot to offer. The Flex Machine Tools staff is young, energetic, and excited about what they’re doing in their field. Many employees never thought they would wind up working in the manufacturing industry. Once they’re in, they realize that manufacturing is a fun and exciting career with good salaries and opportunities for professional growth. If you’re looking for a career with potential, a job in manufacturing might be right for you. For career opportunities at Flex Machine Tools visit the Career Page for more information.