High-tech jobs are the future of manufacturing — but where are the workers?
- UI LABS and ManpowerGroup have released a skills analysis identifying 165 tech-based jobs that will shape the manufacturing industry in the U.S. The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) of UI LABS and ManpowerGroup's Right Management and Experis brands conducted research for the report, which more than 30 business, government and academic partners supported. DMDII and the U.S. Department of Defense financed the analysis.
- The jobs require advanced technological skills and knowledge, with titles such as collaborative robotics specialist, manufacturing cybersecurity strategist and enterprise digital ethicist.
- DMDII's mission, to promote technology across manufacturing in the U.S., is aligned with ManpowerGroup's MyPath strategy, the pair says, which aims to close the skills gap by recognizing future roles.
Factory workers who can make the transition from assembly-line machinists to robotics specialists will be part of manufacturing's revival. But the skills gap will only widen with the new wave of tech-based jobs unless workers get the training needed to fill them. Automation is replacing largely low-skilled, repetitive-motion jobs in factories, but the tech-based jobs being ushered in require highly developed skills. If employers are willing to invest in training, they might be able to narrow the skills gap.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says that U.S. companies will have two million job vacancies by 2025. The American Welding Society predicts that manufacturing industries will be short 300,000 welders and welding instructors by 2020.
Manufacturers have sometimes provided blue-collar workers with well-paying jobs, but they haven't always attracted a broad base of employees. Fred Goff, CEO of Jobcase, an online community offering job searches, previously told HR Dive that many people believe that a college degree and a career in finance, marketing, law, engineering or teaching was the best path toward making a good living. Employers must make factory jobs appealing to more workers, which might require a culture change; new tech-based jobs and training opportunities, however, could draw more candidates into the industry.