If your perception of a manufacturing job is stuck somewhere between Upton Sinclair’s “jungle” and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, we have good news. Modern manufacturing requires a highly skilled workforce with the desire and know-how to use emerging technologies–a perfect career fit for Gen Z and upcoming generations of digital natives.
The Silver Tsunami Is Here
By 2030, all Baby Boomers will have reached or exceeded age 65.1 Estimated to be about 73 million people, Boomers have already begun to retire from their active working lives. While this is a challenge for employers across all industries, manufacturing is being hard hit. The Manufacturing Institute estimated that 2.4 million job openings in manufacturing will go unfilled between 2018 and 2028.2 Much of this is due to a skills gap, as manufacturers struggle to find workers who have the knowledge, expertise, and technical and/or manual/operational skills to get the job done.
From Minecraft to Manufacturing
While this is a serious challenge for manufacturers, this is also a serious opportunity for students who are looking for a high-tech career. If you grew up building virtual worlds online after doing your homework, you are well-positioned to fill the skills gap. As technologies like machine learning, digital twins, IoT, and AI become increasingly interwoven into manufacturing, employers need people who can leverage these new ways of working. (Go show your mom that playing video games wasn’t a waste of time after all!)
Rewarding Work, With Real-Life Impact
Even though it can feel like we live in a virtual, digital world, that’s really not the case. “We live in the physical world, where our health and comfort comes from tangible things that are made like food, medicine, power, and houses,” says Brian Fitzgerald, Chief Revenue Officer at Augury. “A job in manufacturing lets you know every day how your work is making things better for people you know and care about.”
Additionally, manufacturing offers good jobs that marry technology with hands-on work. More and more, jobs in manufacturing are about driving the process and leveraging the technology. But, as Brian notes, these jobs “still get you out into the factory and give you different challenges to face every day. It’s rewarding to know that your work makes babies healthier, families safer, holidays more fun, and so on.”
Manufacturing: Perfect for Problem Solvers
Over on The Endpoint, Augury’s online community, one member chimed in on her experience as an electrician/condition-based maintenance tech at a global brewing company. “I’m happy I chose the technical side of manufacturing,” Linda says. “Manufacturing directs one to think in depth…to examine [a machine] for probable cause, come up with a solution, and execute a plan. Manufacturing also teaches one to become aware of safety and our environment.”
Make a Difference with Meaningful Work
Speaking of the environment, some of the best work you’ll ever do is the work that makes the world a better place. Getting involved in manufacturing means more than just making cool stuff (although it definitely includes that.) It’s also a way to make a huge impact on sustainability. “A career in manufacturing puts you at the forefront of finding ways to reduce energy and water consumption and reduce raw material waste,” says James Newman, Augury’s Head of Product and Market Strategy. “With great new technologies, like robotics and AI, you get the opportunity to make the best stuff, in the best way.”
A Career with Fast Time to Value
You could claw your way up the corporate ladder…or you could put yourself on the fast track to a career where your skills are in demand. For Lance Cattelan, a Vibration Specialist with Augury, it was an easy decision. “The community college in my area offers an A.S. in Industrial Maintenance that can be completed in less than two years. I went through the program where I learned all aspects of maintenance, including the use of technical tools such as vibration, alignment, and infrared analysis. Our local industries recruit these graduates because they’re losing the experience of our older, retiring workforce. These are secure jobs and they are abundant. Some pay six-figure salaries with great benefits that lead to career advancement.”
And a Career for the Long Haul
Employee turnover can be fast and fierce in the technology world. But as manufacturers increasingly adopt Industry 4.0 tech, there’s a hunger for talent (and institutional memory) that will stay and grow along with the business. “If you plan your career path with longevity and seniority in mind, manufacturing is a great place to grow,” shares Smadar Elati, Operations Administrator at Augury.
Brian Fitzgerald agrees. “Manufacturing is a growth industry. Most countries want to bring more manufacturing onshore at home, so they are investing in it. It’s a long-term career choice you can make with confidence.”
Are You Up To The Challenge?
For these reasons and so many more, there’s never been a better time to think about a career in manufacturing. As older employees enjoy a well-deserved retirement, you are the change agent manufacturers need. So celebrate Manufacturing Day by exploring the best kept career secret.
We hope to see you on the production floor.
- https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/12/by-2030-all-baby-boomers-will-be-age-65-or-older.html ↩︎
- The Manufacturing Institute. (2019). (rep.). The Aging of the Manufacturing Workforce: Challenges and Best Practices. Washington DC. ↩︎