America is facing an economywide workforce shortage, meaning there are not enough qualified workers to fulfill the supply of open jobs. This is especially true in manufacturing. Manufacturing jobs are on the rise, yet companies are struggling to find skilled candidates to meet the growing demand.
A new resource published by the Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with Deloitte, reveals a hard truth: there continues to be a perception gap in this field. Although manufacturing in the United States has become increasingly innovative and important, many Americans are not aware of its advances—let alone the high-tech nature of modern manufacturing careers. This lack of knowledge has contributed to less people training for—and applying to—manufacturing jobs.
If you are here, you may have your own perceptions about manufacturing. Perhaps you are unsure about the benefits of a manufacturing career, or the scope of the role in present day. Maybe as you’ve considered this career path, others have questioned you: “Why do you want to work in manufacturing at all?” You may be feeling apprehensive in your reasons why.
You are not alone. However, there are some great reasons to enter the field of manufacturing today—reasons that many people are not (yet) aware of. In this guide, we discuss the top reasons to work in manufacturing as we enter 2023 and beyond.
Why Work in the Manufacturing Industry Today?
1. Manufacturing is critical to our everyday.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a newly heightened awareness around the importance of manufacturing, and it is a key reason why now is the time to get involved. More people respect and value manufacturers than ever before. These are the companies (and professionals) who are working to create critical goods we use every day. From personal protective equipment (PPE) to ventilators and medical devices, from laptop computers to vehicles to get to work, almost everything we use and rely on has been touched by manufacturers in some way.
The study reveals a continued perception gap: Even as domestic manufacturing is viewed as increasingly important to the economy, public perceptions of manufacturing are not in line with the current reality. For instance, many Americans are not aware of the increasingly high-tech nature of manufacturing, which is improving employee productivity and providing cutting-edge, transferable skills. This perception gap is likely contributing to the current shortage of applicants.
2. There is job stability in manufacturing.
As you can see from the above, manufacturing is here to stay. It plays an important role in the U.S. economy, and therefore creates job stability for millions of Americans. Today, there are roughly 12.92 million workers employed in the manufacturing industry. And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, manufacturing is among the top five employers in the United States today. This means that jobs are available to you, and those jobs are not going anywhere. As the need for production grows, and the value placed on domestic manufacturing increases, more workers will be required to step in and help. At the same time, current workers can expect to advance within the field.
3. Manufacturing offers high salary potential—plus benefits.
It may come as a surprise to hear that manufacturers offer high salaries, well above the national average for all occupations. In 2021, U.S. manufacturing workers earned an average, annual salary of $95,990. The average manufacturing worker earns roughly $30 per hour, which is much higher than the retail industry at $22, for a point of comparison. Not to mention, the added benefits for manufacturing employees make this a great field to break into. According to the Manufacturing Institute report, among private industry manufacturing workers:
- 84 percent have retirement benefits through their job
- 90 percent have health care benefits
- 95 percent have paid vacation
- 81 percent have paid sick leave
These figures are significantly higher than retail and service industries, too. And this is just what is offered currently, among manufacturing careers. Benefits for workers are only expected to grow. As the shortage of manufacturing workers continues, more employers are increasing benefits and prioritizing employee demands. On top of adding to paid time off, and increasing health care benefits, manufacturers are also placing more focus on:
- Flexibility in work schedules and arrangements
- Easing shift swapping and ability to take time off
- Enhanced parental leave policies
- Employee rewards and recognition
- Reduced overtime requirements
- Enhanced employee sponsorship and mentoring programs
- Advanced diversity and inclusion programs at work
And more. As more manufacturers aim to hire top-quality talent, you may find that benefits and salary are also negotiable as you apply for jobs.
4. Domestic manufacturing jobs are clean and safe.
Technological advancements have truly changed manufacturing as we know it. Gone are the days of dark and dirty factories, unsafe equipment, and dangerous workplace conditions. Today, manufacturing facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including robotics, that allow for clean and safe production processes. Further, manufacturers are placing a greater focus on workplace standards and personal protection—translating to less injury and illness within the industry.
As you contemplate a career in manufacturing, remember that it is a high-tech and cutting-edge field. Today, manufacturers utilize robotic equipment, computer-controlled machinery, artificial intelligence, computer-aided design software, and other advanced technology to ensure efficient, sustainable, quality, and safe production processes.
5. Manufacturing requires creative and skilled workers.
It is a common myth that manufacturing is an industry fit for low-skilled workers. This statement could not be further from the truth. Because manufacturing has advanced, now utilizing high-tech machinery and computer programs, it requires more skilled and trained workers to step in and take on even more valuable work.
If you are considering a manufacturing career, rest assured that it is one where a robust skillset is valued (and required).
Today, manufacturing jobs require problem-solving skills, critical thinking, organization and management, creativity and innovation, as well as technical skillsets. Depending on your field, you will need to fulfill training in areas like CNC machining, welding, CAD/CAM software, blueprint reading and design, quality assurance, and more. On top of this, manufacturers are seeking workers who are creative and forward-thinking, who have the ability to think on their feet, and who can work well on a team.
Thus, most manufacturers are now hiring workers who have completed postsecondary training and certification programs. Some require employees to have a college degree. As you consider entering this line of work, rest assured you will be standing alongside other innovative thinkers with education and training under their belts.
Why Work in Manufacturing—or, Why Not?
You may have arrived here asking the question, “Why should I work in manufacturing?” Now, you may realize, the question is “Why not?” Manufacturing careers offer incredible benefits for workers, and the field is only expected to expand and improve over the years.
In Connecticut, manufacturing workers earn an average salary of $101,136 per year. There are more than 4,660 manufacturing employers in Connecticut, ready to hire aspiring workers like you.
Are you ready to take that next step? Goodwin University is a leading manufacturing and machining school in Connecticut, with an array of career-focused programs and flexible, fast-paced scheduling options for motivated students.
To learn more, request more information online here.