Manufacturing jobs have gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. There are plenty of clichés that blue-collar work has come by, that simply don’t do the opportunities justice. Manufacturing as an industry has seen a total revolution in recent years as more digitally connected devices are incorporated, and new technologies become the standard. No longer are manufacturing jobs considered repetitive or unintellectual. Here are three myths of the manufacturing industry dispelled.
A Homogeneous Workforce
Once considered to be a male-dominated industry, manufacturing is seeing as much change in terms of its worker demographics as its technological growth. While there may still be a male lean to the workforce, women currently hold a sizable chunk – 27 percent of the market in the U.S. This includes board seats, executive, and C-level jobs. More women and minorities are joining the workforce and that is creating a more diverse and culturally interesting work environment. Younger employees are also changing the look of the manufacturing industry. As many life-long employees come to retirement age, there is a distinct demand for young blood to fill the void. The face of manufacturing no longer looks the same as it once did. In fact, it’s looking a lot more like a true representation of the U.S. population.
Dirty or Unsafe Working Conditions
Manufacturing work was once thought to be dirty and even unsafe, but these days you probably wouldn’t even recognize a manufacturing room floor. Factories are now clean, modern, and very technological. Companies know that any dirt and debris lead to safety hazards, and safety is now a top priority. To avoid worker’s comp claims, manufacturing companies have set safety policies in place that show their commitment to their employees and to their product. It simply isn’t worth the bad reputation to do otherwise.
The very nature of manufacturing work has changed, as well. Now software developers, production techs and product designers hold the bulk of the jobs in the industry, and it takes a significant amount of training to qualify. They work with 3D computers and CAD files to help a company product the next big thing. Those jobs require education, degrees, training, and experience to be effective in the workplace, and most opportunities are in very high demand.
Lack of High-Paying Jobs
With increased skills and demand inevitably comes higher pay, so it’s safe to say that digital manufacturing has shifted the pay curve for the whole of the manufacturing industry. Not every job will make an employee a six-figure salary, but there are plenty that will. In order to meet the changing demands of the industry, colleges and trade schools are customizing their curriculum to provide the schooling that will prepare students for the modern market. Today, an entry-level mold technician can expect to make up to $70,000 per year, right out of school. The average salary in the U.S. is just north of $50,000. So all things considered, the manufacturing industry is looking pretty competitive.
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