It cannot be denied. As much of a backbone of the economy as manufacturing is in most countries, there is a serious lack young workers wanting to come into the industry. It could spell a major problem for those countries where the push to reinvigorate the industry has become a large concern. In this article, we’re going to look at the details of the crisis, why the factories are empty and what the employers could be doing to reverse that.

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The image issue

Perhaps the biggest problem is the bad rep that manufacturing has got in the past. It’s true that in the past, there were big concerns that made manufacturing a bad choice for most employees. They still are demanding jobs and still are more dangerous than a lot of other work environments. But nowadays, we have plenty of safety standards and workload lightening methods that make the modern plant a much more pleasant place to work. There’s also the concern that manufacturing jobs are low-paying and dead-ended, but that can be fought by prioritizing those jobs with the most potential. The jobs that give real skills, a point we will look at next.

Where have all the skills gone

Nowadays, there’s a greater perception of freedom and opportunity amongst a more educated working populace. Even in tough economic times, that means many people are going to be holding out hope for a job that challenges them and offers real progression. Manufacturing still can offer that, of course. The specialization of tools and the rise of equipment-specific companies like Pirtek shows a lot of room to become an expert in training and implementation of different tools in the manufacturing world. There are also skills that appeal to a broader range of workers, as well. The rise of computer-controlled and automated machines and their need for programmers and operators means that the stigma of ‘dumb, dirty, and dangerous’ shouldn’t apply as much to manufacturing anymore. But it’s the employer’s job to make that clear.

Rise of the sub-contractor

There’s another reason why employers aren’t seeing as many skilled workers coming to them. If you want to make money in manufacturing, which most young workers interested in the industry do, it might not be the smartest move to stick with an employer. Instead, many of them are taking the specific skills mentioned above, buying or renting their own equipment, and starting up their own sub-contracting business. Instead of hiring them as employees, manufacturers now have to hire them as sub-contractors. It might not offer the kind of secure position that an employer might want, but subcontracting could be more cost-effective in many situations. Business owners have to get more used to this new reality.

We need to thoroughly punctuate not only the importance of manufacturing, which most people understand. We need to look at the benefits of working in the industry for the younger workforce and, for the manufacturers themselves, we might need to look at the new deal they have to get used to in finding the labor and skills they need.