Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Manufacturing is a bad career choice (Here are five reasons why)

Manufacturing is a thing of the past.
First let me offer an apology. If you've been following this blog for any length of time you know that we have been very vocal supporters of the manufacturing industry and have actually been encouraging young people to consider a manufacturing career. 

Over and over we have presented manufacturing as positive alternative to dead-end jobs and expensive (and unfruitful) college majors. Week after week we have encouraged parents to speak to their kids - the ones who love to tinker, to create, to fix things - about attending events like MFG Day and the Xtreme BOTS competitions to gain a better understanding of manufacturing and what it is really like today. 

We have presented manufacturing as something that government officials should support with programs and funding and that educators should not overlook when presenting career options to high school students who are depending on them for sound advice.

It's hard for me to admit, but we were wrong. Here's why:

-- April Fools! --

I had you going there for a minute, didn't I? (Sorry, I couldn't resist)

Actually, rest assured, we still believe, more than ever, that manufacturing can be a great career choice. Twenty-six years ago I started in my first full-time manufacturing job. The traditional college/career path was just not an option for me. Since then manufacturing has provided me with a lot of opportunities and with a great living. I've been able to own my own home, take great vacations and comfortably raise a family of five on my (and only my) manufacturing income. All this without a four-year degree. 

Mine is just one story of over 12 million Americans who have made manufacturing their career of choice. Unfortunately there are still a lot of people who are misinformed and in the dark when it comes to the truth about our important industry. They have been "fooled" into believing these five common manufacturing myths.

The Top 5 Manufacturing Myths

1. U.S. Manufacturing is dead

  • Truth: We actually make more in the United States than ever before. Actually, output has risen every year since 1947.

2. All Manufacturing is done in China or Mexico

  • Truth: More production is moving back to the U.S. and will continue to do so. Consider recent decisions by Apple and Whirlpool to invest in plants here at home. 

3. Manufacturing is a dirty job, not a career

  • Truth: Manufacturing, while hands-on, is clean, modern and highly technical. Manufacturing can be hard work, but continual advances in technology have lessened the need for unskilled labor and increased the need for qualified and skilled workers.

4. There are no job opportunities in Manufacturing

5. You can’t make any money in Manufacturing

  • Truth: The average manufacturer earns 25% more than all other industries. Manufacturing is one of the true wealth building industries (because it adds significant value to raw materials) and as you participate in that value-adding process, you are able to earn a fair portion of that wealth as a wage. Other industries (think retail) add little real value to the goods and so wages are substantially less. Simple economics.

Don't be fooled by those who unfairly discount manufacturing to a relic of the past. Manufacturing is a viable career option. It's an option that I'm glad that I knew about.

What are some manufacturing myths you've heard? 

Leave your answer in the comment section below.


Gary Weldon is the co-founder and editor of MADEinDAYTONblog.com. When he’s not writing deceitful things about manufacturing careers, he develops new business opportunities for Staub Manufacturing Solutions, a world-class contract manufacturing company in Dayton, Ohio.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Josh, I can only second your statement above. As a supplier to the manufacturing sector, we are some of the first to see changes, because we see when manufacturers are ramping up or slowing down their production. In the last years, we have seen quite a lot of "re-shoring" going on where production lines have moved back to the US and especially here in Texas we have been fortunate by seeing companies like Apple Computer and Motorola moving production facilities into the state.
    Manufacturing is definitely a very important part of a healthy Economy, it provides top-notch and well-paying jobs. I appreciate you pointing this out.