Demand For Manufacturing Talent Still Strong

The need for workers is still on the rise, despite slow growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector, according to a new report from Aerotek.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a softening in the manufacturing industry, the demand for manufacturing talent is still critical, according to a new report from Aerotek. The industrial staffing services company’s second-annual list of “Opportunities in Manufacturing” includes the top 10 fast growing U.S. industries for manufacturing employment, as well as the top states driving employment.

Top Manufacturing Industries, States, And Jobs

manufacturing employment
Click to enlarge. (Source: PRNewsFoto/Aerotek)

The manufacturing industry softening is in response to market forces including the global economic downturn outside the U.S., a strong dollar, and increasing competition from companies abroad, according to Sara Staggs, director of divisional operations for Aerotek’s Commercial Division.

“Despite the slower growth, finding talent is still one of the greatest challenges for manufacturing today,” said Staggs. “Machinists, production workers and assemblers are among the top occupations in demand, while workers with skilled trade backgrounds such as welding and machining are also in high demand.”

Top 10 Fast-growing Industries For Manufacturing Employment, 2015-2016

  1. Oil and Gas Field Machinery and Equipment: 7 percent
  2. Metal Tank (Heavy Gauge): 5 percent
  3. Perishable Prepared Food: 4 percent
  4. Fabricated Pipe and Pipe Fitting: 3 percent
  5. Commercial Screen Printing: 3 percent
  6. Wood Container and Pallet: 3 percent
  7. Truck Trailer: 3 percent
  8. Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim: 2 percent
  9. Printed Circuit Assembly (Electronic Assembly): 2 percent
  10. Farm Machinery and Equipment: 2 percent

Top 5 States for Manufacturing Employment

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Indiana
  4. Michigan
  5. Iowa

Open Positions in Skillsets with the Highest Demand

  1. General Production Worker: 43,100
  2. Light Industrial Assembler: 19,648
  3. Machine Operator: 6,050
  4. Maintenance Tech/Mechanics: 5,465
  5. Welder: 3,818

This talent need is driven primarily by the rate of retirement and the reduction in supply of new workers entering the industry. Approximately 2.7 million workers will retire from the manufacturing industry in the next decade or so, according to a 2015 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, and they’re not easily replaced.

Investing In The Future

The manufacturing industry has continued to evolve – relying more heavily on the operation, maintenance and programming of high tech machines – and shifting away from the outdated stigma of the manufacturing industry is critical in attracting talent. Millennials, who are accustomed to using high tech devices, have great potential to embrace the increasingly sophisticated world of skilled trades.

Many organizations and states are taking actions to change the stigma and ensure the next generation of manufacturing is equipped with the necessary skills and training, and many companies and recruiting firms have started to form partnerships with schools to boost the pipeline of talent entering the manufacturing industry.

Aerotek currently participates in programs in a number of states, including a hands-on training program in San Diego to help give candidates the proper training and apprenticeships needed to explore a prepare for a career in modern manufacturing.

“Reaching out to millennials in a targeted approach can help change misperceptions that keep them from entering the skilled trade workforce,” said Staggs. “We’re actively working to update manufacturing’s image by partnering with trade and vocational schools to highlight the impressive career opportunities in manufacturing.”