SoloPoint Insights

What Skills Will Survive In Manufacturing Hiring?

Though manufacturing hiring is expected to trend upwards, there are skills that are more in-demand, and some that are rapidly declining. Which ones are yours? writer and Market Research Analyst Justin Guinn wrote about the employment projections of different manufacturing positions, and what skills will continue to be sought after by employers:

For better or worse, the jobs that once required a largely unskilled, trainable workforce are declining or moving overseas. Manufacturing no longer needs legions of trainable employees that specialize in a single skill. The prevalence of computer-controlled machinery–managed by systems like job shop manufacturing software–now demands manufacturing workers that possess a combination of math skills, intuition, stamina, and often a college degree. Workers who hope to get in on the hiring rebound will need to acquire a high tech skill set.

Here’s a brief summary of the trends we’ll see in manufacturing employment over the next few years:

Sorters, Samplers, & Weighers
Painting and Coating Workers
Assemblers & Fabricators
Machine Operators

The increases in historical manufacturing roles that value high-tech skills will be coupled by increases in employment of workers with engineering skills. These roles will be defined by creating more efficient manufacturing and supply chain processes, and engineering better and more efficient machines. It might be safe to say that the following jobs will play a significant role in the future of manufacturing.

Manufacturing Software Engineers
Manufacturing Process Engineers
Automated Systems Engineers
Supply Chain Engineers

We’ve moved out of an age where a pair of hands, a strong back, and a healthy work ethic is all that’s needed to get a good paying job in manufacturing. The shift away from “old-line” manufacturing toward more advanced, computer-assisted manufacturing has changed the type of worker needed. Of course, this shift is nothing new – it is the result of a couple of decades of incorporating information technology and automation into our manufacturing processes. As these processes grow increasingly complex, the need for specialized and adaptable workers grows as well.

Many jobs that were once commonplace, like manual sorting, are now gone. Much like digital switches replaced phone operators, automation on the shop floor has replaced much of the manual labor workforce, and for much the same reason. A different kind of worker is needed. The talent management group Pearson summed up the skills changeover nicely:

Old World
New World
Learning one or two specific technical roles Mechanical reasoning, logic trouble shooting, and spatial visualization
Physical strength and flexibility Personal flexibility, communication, and cooperation
Ability to follow fixed, unchanging procedures Initiative, persistance, and independence
General attention to production and safety procedures Attention to detail, self-control, and dependability
Following orders Making independent decisions
Operating, maintaining, designing mechanical machinery Operating computers or computerized machinery and using computers for a wide range of critical functions

What are some of the skills that modern manufacturers are looking for?

  • Knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering processes
  • Ability to work with computerized systems
  • Ability to read and write machine programming code
  • Ability to read manufacturing blueprints
  • Ability to operate automated manufacturing systems
  • Understanding of hydraulic, pneumatic, and electrical systems

Are you looking for manufacturing workers with more advanced skills? Or are you looking to ramp up your workforce before the end of the year? Call the experts at SoloPoint Solutions today at (408)246-5945 or (714)708-3639!