Is Manufacturing a Good Career?

March 13, 2023
Written by: Micki Vandeloo

There are many myths about manufacturing careers:

  • They are dirty and dangerous.
  • They are jobs that only people without college educations do.
  • They don’t pay well.

After 25 plus years working in manufacturing facilities and now with manufacturing leaders as a grant consultant, though, I can tell you that there is nothing that can be further from the truth! Today’s modern manufacturing environments are hotbeds of innovation and present a perfect environment for reaching your full potential. In this article, I will reveal five big reasons I believe manufacturing is a good career choice for workers of any age or background.

5 Reasons Manufacturing is a Good Career

Reason #1 – Most manufacturing is housed in clean facilities. With a few exceptions, manufacturing facilities are well maintained, brightly lit, and you could eat off the floors!!  Manufacturers work really hard to install good lighting and polish floors in off hours to enhance the work environment and their employees.

Reason #2 – Due to the advent of ergonomic equipment such as lift tables and incorporation of automation to do tasks such as removing parts from fixtures, manufacturing jobs are safe and get safer every year. Manufacturers realize that an unsafe environment leads to lower productivity and increased downtime as well as employee dissatisfaction and high turnover.

Reason #3 – A recent article in USA Today discussed how young adults from underserved backgrounds are increasingly selecting alternatives to four-year degrees, including two year community college degrees or forgoing college for manufacturing jobs and other careers, primarily due to the cost of higher education. In fact, according to this article, “Sixty percent of high school students from underserved backgrounds don’t see earning a college degree as necessary to ensurea successful future….”  There are new manufacturing certificate programs popping up at colleges and through resources such as ToolingU that help prepare students not interested in a degree program for manufacturing careers.  And, more and more manufacturers are developing apprenticeship programs to help attract workers, which provide classroom and on-the-job training.  These programs allow workers to earn a progressively increasing wage as they gain work experience.

Reason #4 – Manufacturing jobs, over the course of a person’s career, provide better earning potential than even many jobs that require a four-year degree. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) , “Manufacturing employees earned $95,900 on average in 2021, including pay and benefits.”, and “91% of manufacturing employees were eligible for health insurance benefits in 2022.”  In a competitive labor market, as we are in now, manufacturers are also offering signing bonuses and additional benefits to attract workers.

Reason #5 – There are a LOT of manufacturers needing workers! According to the NAM article referenced above, in December of 2022, there were 764,000 manufacturing job openings! 

Good working environment. No need for education beyond high school (and no college debt).  Great pay.  A wide range of choices for employment.  Why wouldn’t you want to consider a manufacturing career?  I can’t think of any reason not to!

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