How many of you remember the show “MythBusters”? This show was popular a few years ago, and featured two guys who went to sometimes great lengths to debunk popular myths.
Unfortunately, there is no “mythbusting” team for manufacturing myths, even though many of them abound in our society. So, I have taken it upon myself to be the “Manufacturing Mythbuster” (at least, for the purposes of this article)!
Here are a few of the most popular myths regarding careers in manufacturing and the reasons they are absolutely false.
Myth #1: Manufacturing careers are dark and dirty
Fact: There are some manufacturing facilities that are less than pristine, including steel mills (primarily due to the use of carbon in steel making), but the vast majority of manufacturing facilities have floors clean enough to eat off of. Also, thanks to the use of LED lighting, many manufacturing floor have LOTS of light. After all, you can’t see the product you are producing in a poorly lit facility!
Myth #2: Manufacturing careers are dangerous
Fact: OSHA scrutinizes manufacturers very carefully to ensure they provide safe workspaces. However, manufacturers are also committed to self-policing their operations, as workplace accidents lead to unnecessary downtime and reduced production. Most manufacturing companies have a safety leader on staff, or someone who has the responsibility for safety training and enforcement as part of their job duties.
Myth #3: You don’t make money in a manufacturing career
Fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory employees has steadily increased over the past four months from $25.67 in December 2022 to $25.91 in March 2023. March 2023 earnings per hour for all employees is $31.83. This is higher than the hourly wages in the services sector such as food and beverage ($19.30), retail establishments like furniture stores ($26.37) and leisure and hospitality ($20.96).
Where manufacturing may fall short on wages, the benefits offered to manufacturing employees are substantial. According to the BLS data, 90% of employers sponsor a health care benefit, 95% offer paid vacation and 79% offer paid sick leave.
Myth #4: Manufacturing is a dead-end career
Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth. Most manufacturing companies offer extensive opportunities for training to expand an employee’s skill set. Also, an increasing number of manufacturers are offering apprenticeships, which provide a pathway to greater job opportunities and increased pay. The fact is that, if a worker desires greater earning potential and responsibility in manufacturing, and is willing to put the time and effort into learning new skills, those employees can achieve six-figure salaries in time.
I know that there may be many perceived reasons why someone may not want to consider a career in manufacturing, but I hope I have provided at least a few reasons to reconsider that decision.