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March 30, 2022

Study says perception of manufacturing sector getting better, but workforce issues persist

Photo | Jon Kline via Pixabay

More people believe manufacturing jobs are innovative and would encourage their children to pursue jobs in the industry than they did years ago, according to a new study.

The Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute 2022 Manufacturing Perception Study released this week includes results of two surveys: one polling manufacturing executives and the other polling consumers. The study cites that 64% of consumers surveyed view manufacturing as innovative and problem-solving oriented, up from 39% of respondents in the 2017 study.

Also in the study, 40% of respondents said they’d encourage their child or another young person to pursue a career in manufacturing, up from 27% in 2017.

While perception is up, the industry is still struggling with workforce issues. Almost 45% of manufacturing executives surveyed said they have turned down business opportunities due to lack of workers, and a majority of workers said they still prefer jobs in other sectors, such as retail, services and technology.

Attracting and retaining a quality workforce is a top focus for 83% of manufacturers surveyed, per the study.

The study said that although 84% of manufacturing jobs lost in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic were added back to payrolls, turnover remains high in the industry. 58% of surveyed respondents said they feel manufacturing jobs have limited career prospects, but 80% of respondents added that they may be interested in roles with enhanced training and clear career paths.

For manufacturing executives, 84% surveyed said their company was effective in being equitable and inclusive for a diverse workforce but acknowledged more needs to be done to further balance gender and ethnic representation in the industry.

For attracting talent, the study said 18 to 24 year olds are much more likely to consider career changes than other age cohorts, so manufacturers should emphasize recruiting and retaining young people that may be looking for something different.

According to Deloitte and The Manufacturing institute, the survey polled a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 Americans. That group is further divided into two cohorts based on their familiarity with the manufacturing industry. The manufacturing executives survey section polled more than 100 director-level and above executives to compare their perspectives with the workforce findings.

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