The reputation of the manufacturing industry isn’t always a flattering one.
When thinking about manufacturing, many people conjure up cliché, dated images of a male-dominated, low-paying labor force executing backbreaking work day after day. They think of empty factories and a fleeting industry.
But that isn’t the reality of working in the modern manufacturing industry. In fact, manufacturing output is on the rise in the United States, and has been for a while. The United States Chamber of Commerce states that the manufacturing output has grown eightfold since 1947.
However, the number of available jobs, the types of jobs and the types of workers employed in those jobs have certainly changed over the years.
Masterson Staffing Solutions has helped workers find jobs in the manufacturing sector for 50 years, so believe us, we’ve heard all the myths. This article will deconstruct four of those common myths and misconceptions surrounding the manufacturing industry and separate fact from fiction.
1. Low pay and benefits
One of the most common misconceptions about working in manufacturing these days is that workers aren’t compensated well—a notion that is simply not true. According to the most recent congressional report, hourly wages have risen 17% higher in manufacturing than in other industries.
In today’s industry, manufacturing workers earn much more than they did in the heyday of manufacturing. In 1950, the average manufacturing worker made $1.27 per hour, which when adjusted for inflation is equivalent to $12.84 in 2017. Today, the average manufacturing worker makes $20.67 per hour, according to Trading Economics.
In addition to increased wages, the congressional report noted that medical and retirement benefits were more likely in manufacturing than in other service-sector jobs.
2. The American manufacturing job is gone
Another myth about manufacturing is that there is a shortage in jobs. Though many manufacturing jobs have been indeed been lost oversees and to automation over the years, the industry is still responsible for 12% of the United States GDP and employs 12.3 million workers.
A survey conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute showed that 67% of manufacturers reported a shortage in available talent. This tells you that the manufacturing industry is looking to fill plenty of jobs to add to the already impressive 12.3 million-strong workforce.
3. Only for unskilled laborers
This myth is closely connected to Myth No. 2 above. Manufacturing has always required highly-skilled workers to operate complex and expensive machinery, and with the influx of technology and robotics entering the industry that remains the case today.
In the Manufacturing Institute study mentioned above, the report found that developing workforce skills was of the highest priority for the manufacturing industry as a whole, stating: “Our education system must also do a better job aligning education and training to the needs of employers and job-seekers.”
From attention to detail and critical thinking to an aptitude for technology, manufacturing companies require a highly-skilled workforce that is ready to learn.
4. Bad working conditions
Another myth attached to manufacturing is that it features unsafe working conditions. But working in manufacturing today is healthier and safer than ever before.
The increased safety is a consequence of a heightened concern for environmental awareness and government mandated health and safety regulations. Also, the implementation of technology such as robots, drones, self-driving vehicles and augmented reality have led to huge safety gains.
The Opportunity is There
Much like the notion that Pluto is a planet (it’s a dwarf planet) and that Napoleon Bonaparte was short (at 5’7” he was above-average height for his time), there are several contagious myths about the manufacturing industry that are simply untrue.
Working in manufacturing offers today’s workforce great compensation and benefits, a robust market of available jobs, challenging and cutting edge work, and safe working conditions.
Want to learn more about enjoying a career in manufacturing? Discover 6 skills that you need to be successful in a manufacturing job.