Tag Archives: skilled workers

5 Myths About Manufacturing Jobs

There are plenty of myths regarding manufacturing, the jobs available, and the future of the sector. Some of these myths are no big deal – the myth that the U.S. can’t compete with China, for instance, doesn’t drive people away from a manufacturing career path. In truth, we do compete with China, but while we can’t beat them when it comes to sheer quantity, we can beat them in quality. What hurts the most are myths that drive people away from manufacturing careers; careers that could be great for them to get into. If you are considering launching into a manufacturing career and you hear these myths, you need to ignore them.

Manufacturing Jobs are Low-Skill Jobs

In the past, many manufacturing jobs have been simple, hands-on, singular tasks. Turning wrenches, hammering, and manual assembly jobs were representative of the activities a worker would be required to do every day. In the modern manufacturing climate, workers are just as likely to be programming machines as welding pieces together. They will shift from one task to another, sometimes over the course of a single day. These are skilled jobs and require flexibility and highly developed skills.

Manufacturing Jobs are Dead-End Jobs

Most manufacturers are not interested in hiring workers who do not see themselves growing within the company. Innovation, the evolution of talent, and ideas are leading the sector into the future, and companies get it. Many companies hire with the idea that the new employees will learn and advance within the company as well as offer various educational opportunities for continued growth.

Manufacturing Jobs Don’t Pay Well

A century ago, manufacturing jobs were low-paying jobs with few benefits, and that has been a characterization that has been difficult to shake. Today the average manufacturing job is worth a combined $17,000 per year more in pay and benefits (including health benefits, retirement funds, pension plans, and more) than the average non-manufacturing or service industry position.

Women Aren’t Welcome in Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing is a male-dominated sector, and has been historically – that can’t be argued. However, manufacturing companies have been working to change that, and are not only open to more women joining the workforce, but have been actively pursuing it. This falls in line with the pursuit of innovation and evolution – manufacturers want the brightest minds, regardless of their gender.

The Manufacturing Job Means Working in a Dirty Environment

In the early days of manufacturing, many times the conditions were deplorable.  Lighting and air quality was poor at best, and unsafe working conditions were the norm.  No longer.  Today the manufacturing work environment is clean, safe, with temperature and humidity controlled environments.  Modern machine tools are computer controlled and ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue.  Companies realize that in order to produce the highest quality products, the work environment and operating conditions have to be of the highest standard possible.

What debunking all these myths demonstrates is that a career in manufacturing has a lot to offer. Whether at Hi-Tek  or any of the thousands of other manufacturers across the country, manufacturing workers are incredibly satisfied with their jobs, and continue to demonstrate that a career in a manufacturing job was their best choice. Manufacturing offers great jobs, and manufacturers are looking for more workers to fill them.

Preparing the Engineers of the Future

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The fact that manufacturing in America has made a comeback is now yesterday’s news. Innovation, cost-effectiveness, and quality products have brought it back. Today’s news is now centered on the manufacturing skills shortage—the jobs are back, but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. So the question is, what does that mean for tomorrow?

Statistics show that 33% of American 25-29 year olds have a bachelor degree (or higher), up from only about 20% several decades ago.  But are they learning the skills they need for real-world employment? Do enough young people know how to work in—and advance in—a technical or engineering career, where the jobs are open and waiting for them?

Programs throughout the country are working toward this.  STEM education is being promoted, and in programs such as California’s Linked Learning and Albany’s Tech Valley High, students are benefitting from career-focused training that will prepare them for a successful future, and possibly help fill the skills gap.  The hope is that more schools will follow the lead.

As a high-tech, low-volume company, Hi-Tek doesn’t build a ton of individual piece parts, but the parts we do build are very difficult to manufacture.  So when a young hire comes to us, rather than sitting in a shop, working on a stamping machine all day and watching widgets as they watch the clock, they are coming to us with a high degree of machining expertise, and the opportunity to be challenged daily, while producing quality parts.

Of course, this requires thorough training and education, and above-average technical skills.  If the examples set forth by the high schools and colleges who are doing this training early are followed by other schools in the country, there’s no telling what the future will bring.