If you’re looking for a job, look at the manufacturing sector. There are hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs in North America — soon to be millions.
Robots and AI are not killing manufacturing
Many people are under the impression that robots and AI are overtaking manufacturing and killing off human jobs in this area, but the reality is actually much different. Recent research shows that humans still perform a vast majority of manufacturing tasks, and according to a new report from Deloitte, there aren’t nearly enough humans to go around.
The industry has been in a workforce crisis for a while, and things could get even worse according to Deloitte’s new 2018 skills gap study. In the US, there are currently about 488,000 unfilled jobs today, and that may increase to as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs going unfilled between this year and 2028.
Canada is affected by the same shortage as the US
Canada is also seeing a massive shortage of skilled workers. The Globe and Mail recently reported that factories are “desperate for skilled workers.” These include welders, tool and die makers, machinists, and millwrights. “A recent survey by the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance reported that 41% of employers would hire more people if they could find those with the skills they needed,” said the Globe.
Shifting skillsets, retiring baby boomers to blame
Manufacturing is seeing growth across North America, but they just can’t find skilled people to fill open positions. Why? Well, it seems that, while technology isn’t killing off jobs, it is changing the way we work and creating a need for new skill sets. Most manufacturers list “shifting skill sets due to the introduction of advanced technology and automation,” at the top reason for the shortage. This is followed by “negative perception of students/their parents toward the manufacturing industry,” and “retirement of baby boomers.”
So, it looks a bit like the younger generation and their parents see the manufacturing sector as beneath them. And so, good jobs are going unfilled.
The best jobs in the manufacturing sector
A report from Randstad Canada from earlier this years stated that “as the Boomer generation settles into retirement, [manufacturers] are unable to replace skilled trade workers fast enough.” Finding young talent interested in the skilled trades, they said, is a challenge.
“Today’s manufacturing jobs are very different from only a handful of years ago. As menial tasks become automated, employers are shifting away from general labour and towards skilled tradespeople.”
That report listed the following as the best manufacturing jobs of 2018:
- production supervisor
- production labourer
- operations supervisor
- CNC machinist
- manufacturing labourer
And the most in-demand skills were as follows:
- quality control
- forklift driving
- hazard analysis
- computer numerical controls (CNC)
- welding equipment
- milling machines
Chad Moutray, director of the Center for Manufacturing Research, and chief economist of the (American) National Association of Manufacturers said in the Deloitte report that some companies are trying new ways to fill the gap and appeal to candidates. “Some manufacturers are shifting their own policies to be more adaptive and flexible, such as allowing nonproduction work to be done from remote locations, while others are implementing new technology like automation to supplement the existing workforce.”
Interested in a job in manufacturing? Check out these jobs on CareerBeacon.