Top In-Demand Manufacturing Jobs and Their Future Prospects

The manufacturing skills gap is already a hot headline. With recession looming for the manufacturing economy (and perhaps the economy at large), employment will continue to be a focus in the coming years. And while the focus is often on the lack of skilled factory workers, it’s important to touch on the positions most in need. We’re not talking about the manufacturing jobs of decades past!

The most in-demand factory jobs today are sophisticated positions with strong tech affiliation. Almost anyone can staff a pick-and-pack job; not everyone can program a human-machine interface (HMI). Here are the most sought-after jobs in the manufacturing marketplace today:

Machine Operator

In reality, manufacturers are looking for Senior Machine Operators III. But before you can be a Senior Operator, you need to start somewhere. That’s why one of the most sought-after jobs in manufacturing today is an entry-level Machine Operator. Manufacturers are looking for bright young operators, ready to get on a career track that’ll lead them up the professional ladder.

Entry-level Machine Operators typically make between $30k and $40k a year. However, as they add years of experience and specializations with machinery and processes, that salary can climb to between $50k and $60k in just four years.  It’s the equivalent to a $60k job out of college, with four years of hands-on experience, instead of classroom learning.

Application Software Developer

On the tech side of manufacturing, Application Software Developers are in high demand. So in-demand, in fact, that starting salary is often six-figures. As factories transition to digital infrastructure, on-staff developers are key in making their network accessible through apps and programs.

While you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in computer science to get in at most manufacturers, it’s well worth the schooling. There’s a long career runway in application development and plenty of demand from a market that’s only growing bigger.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

All those robots won’t fix themselves. Demand for Industrial Mechanics has been on the rise for years and is reaching critical mass as we move into Industry 4.0. Demand for this job is up about 13% in the last year alone, signaling a lack of qualified workers to keep machinery chugging along smoothly.

Industrial Mechanics with experience in specific segments of industry have the potential to earn more, alongside mechanics with lean or Six Sigma familiarity.

Hiring for skills, not just jobs

Something to keep in mind about manufacturing jobs today ― they’re not necessarily filling particular positions, but rather staffing for skill sets. According to a broad survey by Emsi, manufacturers are willing to pay for specific skills, including:

  • Vehicle operating experience
  • Traditional production skills
  • Computer automation skills
  • Familiarity with good manufacturing practices (GMP)
  • Industrial design
  • Lean and Six Sigma

Not only are they willing to pay for skills, manufacturers are also willing to pay a lot. Familiarity with GMP, for example, creates a salary floor of over $74k per year. Lean and Six Sigma insight can bring earnings up to $79k annually. Manufacturers are willing to pay for skills because industry still relies on skilled labor to move forward. Machinery and robotics may be taking low-level jobs, but strategic innovation is still the result of the human mind.

The best advice for job seekers? Don’t set your eyes on a particular position. Instead, equip yourself with the skills manufacturers are looking for. The rest will fall into place.

Having trouble finding qualified repair and maintenance techs? You can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
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