As advanced and innovative as manufacturing is today, many people still hold outdated beliefs about the industry, the opportunities it presents, and its future in today’s shifting landscape.
One study from Deloitte revealed that only five in 10 Americans believe manufacturing jobs are interesting, rewarding, stable, safe, or secure. Just three in 10 would encourage their children to pursue a career in the world of manufacturing.
But this reputation is far from the truth; manufacturing is advancing steadily as technology becomes more sophisticated, new types of jobs become available, and the field diversifies both in terms of the makeup of the workforce and the opportunities offered.
Below, we’ll explore four of the most common misconceptions surrounding the manufacturing sector.
1. Manufacturing Is Outdated
While many people still picture dirty, dusty factories when they think of manufacturing, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Manufacturing is actually on the cutting edge of today’s newest technologies and innovations, with a huge range of job opportunities and types of workspaces available.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting all types of equipment, allowing devices and machines to “communicate” with one another and exchange important data; blockchain technology is revamping the supply chain; and automation and 3D printing is changing the face of manufacturing as we know it. Today’s manufacturing is leaner, cleaner, more efficient — and more exciting — than ever.
2. There Are No Jobs In Manufacturing
Old headlines may still be sticking in people’s minds, but we're actually in the midst of one of the strongest periods in the history of the manufacturing workforce.
Reshoring initiatives are bringing back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. in record numbers, and many different kinds of jobs are available — especially for machinists. Companies today are having a hard time replacing retiring skilled machinists, and are therefore willing to pay a premium for qualified talent. In fact, many companies are even willing to pay for training. And as new technologies create the need for new positions, the American workforce is presented with exciting opportunities and training initiatives.
3. Manufacturing Is Unsafe
Thanks to sophisticated robots, important advancements in technology, and widely accepted best practices and required industry standards, shop floors have actually never been cleaner or safer. Companies today are more concerned than ever about protecting employees and maintaining safe, healthy working conditions in order to retain the best talent, keep operations running smoothly and efficiently, and establish themselves as cutting-edge leaders in the field.
In 2016, the number of days away from the job due to work-sustained injuries in the manufacturing sphere fell by 4%, continuing a steady downward trend.
4. Manufacturing Jobs Are Being Replaced by Robots
While it is true that automation is changing the way manufacturing works, it doesn’t mean replacing workers. Rather, automated equipment and robots are changing the nature of some manufacturing positions and creating a need for different skill sets and expertise.
In many cases, human workers are now needed to work alongside robots; maintaining them, monitoring them, and optimizing them to ensure optimal efficiency.
It’s fair to say that the world of manufacturing looks different than it did 50 years ago — and for good reason. Advances in technology and equipment are rapidly changing the way we manufacture parts and goods, opening up a huge range of new opportunities and jobs for the next generation of workers.
To learn more about how manufacturing is evolving — and how you can best stay ahead of the competition as new manufacturing trends crop up — download our free report, "The State Of Industry In 2018.”