According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), more than 80% of manufacturers struggle to find the talent they need. But despite the availability of opportunities, young people today don’t see manufacturing as an attractive field.
Over the next ten years, approximately 2.4 million manufacturing positions may be left unfilled. Automation might be replacing unskilled labor, but it’s also creating more skilled, hi-tech jobs that are left vacant because not enough people are trained for them.
A study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found that the top reason for this view is a lack of job stability and security. In an industry where 5 million manufacturing jobs vanished in just over a decade, the overwhelming perception is that manufacturing is not a stable industry for career opportunities.
One poll by the Foundation of Fabricators & Manufacturers Association found that 52% of teenagers were not interested in manufacturing, and a majority of these respondents thought of the manufacturing industry as a “dirty, dangerous place that requires little thinking or skill from its workers and offers minimal opportunity for personal growth or career advancement.”
While this description is far from reality, negative public perception can make the manufacturing skills gap even wider unless efforts are made to address these concerns. The Deloitte study also discovered that when people were more familiar with the manufacturing trade, they tended to view it more favorably.