Manufacturing jobs are making a comeback. Despite the loss of 7 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S., it’s expected that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs need to be filled over the next decade. According to a 2017 Randstad report, at any given time, there are about 20,400 active manufacturing job openings. While this is may be good news for our labour market, the problem is millennials aren’t interested.
Why is this the case?
Manufacturing industries are seeing a large gap in skilled labour. The main reason for this labour shortage is because millennials, a generation that grew up with the Internet, prefer to pursue more “fulfilling” careers in tech or digital industries. There’s a wide perception that manufacturing jobs entail blue-collar work that require dull, menial and repetitive tasks. On top of this, our education system emphasizes preparing students for university, rather than helping them develop trade skills.
However, it’s misguided to assume that careers in the manufacturing are unfulfilling. Below are three reasons why today’s manufacturing jobs should be highly sought after by millennials:
1. High pay
There’s a misconception that white-collar jobs bring home more bacon than blue-collar jobs. In an article by PayScale, the average job salaries of white-collar jobs and blue-collar jobs are compared side-by-side and, surprisingly, they’re about the same. And in some cases, blue-collar jobs on average have an even higher salary.
For instance, a mid-career auto mechanic salary range around $41,136, 47 percent higher than the typical salary of $21,714 for a mid-career bank teller.
More recently, Forbes published an article on manufacturing jobs that saw the biggest salary increases. These jobs include electro mechanical technician, maintenance manager, and electronics technician. Electrical and electronic repairers in the U.S. earn an average salary of $65,950, while aircraft mechanic and service technicians earn as much as $54,500 USD on average.
2. Today’s manufacturing jobs are “modern”
Unlike a couple decades ago when most manufacturing jobs required manual labour, automation and other technological advancements have replaced these tasks and streamlined the overall production process.
As a result, people working in this industry are required to learn modern skills, such as programmable logic controls (PLC) and robotics programming, in order to operate and maintain these machines.
3. Easy to acquire skills
Although there’s a skills gap in the manufacturing industries, with online technology classes, students can easily develop professionally at their own pace. In addition, many technical manufacturing jobs require only a certificate program rather than a full college degree, saving them two to three years and a lot of tuition money.
Some colleges offer a variety of affordable online technology programs where students can develop the necessary and skills to succeed in in-demand manufacturing fields; including, PLC technician training, automation, robotics, electro mechanical technician, and electronics technician.
Inspiring millennials to pursue a career in manufacturing
There needs to be a new perception of manufacturing labour as being part of the modern industries, where people work alongside the latest technologies. These technologies includes automation, 3D printing, simulation, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile apps, and more—something that appeals to many millennials.
Another way to inspire millennials (as well as Generation Z) to pursue manufacturing jobs is to showcase its social impact. For instance, by making the connection between industrial work and life-saving medicine, cars, or solar panels, millennials can see how they can make a difference in the world through manufacturing.
Through making manufacturing more relevant to a tech-savvy generation, millennials have more reasons to pursue a career in these growing industries.