Many of the articles and posts I read about the manufacturing industry decry an upcoming lack of skilled workers to fill massive amounts of job openings in the next ten years.  Approximately two million jobs. That’s a lot, right?  Here is why many of those jobs will remain unfilled:

  • Perception – Manufacturing is not “glamorous”
    • Reality – See my previous post for some very cool things that are presently being manufactured or are on the horizon of being manufactured
  • Perception – Manufacturing doesn’t offer competitive salaries or growth opportunities
    • Reality – The median salary for machinists is $40,430.  Median salary for teachers (degree required) $56, 310.  Median salary for electricians – $49,840
    • Reality – National unemployment in June 2016 = 4.9%  Manufacturing unemployment in June 2016 = 3.7%
  • Perception – People are being replaced by robots
    • Reality – There are approximately 1,000 robots per 10,000 workers worldwide – 10%
    • Reality – Robots do work that is unsafe or impossible for humans
    • Reality – Collaborative human/robot tasks will be steadily increasing
  • Perception – There are no programs available to encourage skilled workers
    • Reality – The STEM Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has promoted programs that prepare students for the workplace
    • Reality – TThe Registered Apprenticeship program offers access to 1,000 career areas


With the negative public perception surrounding the manufacturing trades, it is no wonder why we will have many jobs unfilled in the future.  What can we do as manufacturers to attract more skilled workers?

  • Spread the word in your community, especially at high school and college job fairs
  • Host a Manufacturing Day at your shop
  • Sign up to host an apprentice through the Department of Labor Apprentice program or through your local junior college