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Why are manufacturing jobs considered low skilled?

about 1 year ago

Why are manufacturing jobs considered low skilled?

The Perception of Manufacturing Jobs as Low Skilled: Examining the Reality

Manufacturing jobs have long been associated with the notion of being low skilled. This perception stems from various factors, including outdated stereotypes, the increasing prominence of technology, and the shifting dynamics of the labour market. However, it is important to recognize that manufacturing jobs can vary significantly in terms of skill requirements and the level of expertise demanded. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why manufacturing jobs are often considered low skilled and explore the complexities of this perception.

1.    Historical Stereotypes: Historically, manufacturing jobs were often characterized by repetitive tasks on assembly lines, which required minimal training or educational qualifications. This image has contributed to the perception of manufacturing jobs as low skilled. However, this stereotype fails to acknowledge the technological advancements and evolving nature of modern manufacturing processes.

2.    Automation and Technological Advancements: The rapid advancement of automation and technology in manufacturing has transformed the industry. Automated systems and robotics have replaced many manual tasks, leading to the belief that manufacturing jobs no longer require significant skill or expertise. While it is true that some routine and repetitive tasks have been automated, this does not mean that all manufacturing jobs lack complexity or require low skills. In fact, the integration of technology has created a demand for workers with specialized technical knowledge to operate and maintain sophisticated machinery.

3.    Skill Requirements in Modern Manufacturing: Contrary to popular belief, contemporary manufacturing jobs often require a broad range of skills. From design and engineering to quality control and logistics, manufacturing encompasses various disciplines that necessitate a diverse skill set. Today's manufacturing workforce needs a combination of technical proficiency, problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and critical thinking skills to thrive in a rapidly changing industry.

4.    Advanced Manufacturing and High-Tech Industries: The emergence of advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries has further shattered the notion of manufacturing jobs being low skilled. These sectors involve cutting-edge technologies such as 3D printing, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. They demand a highly skilled workforce capable of utilizing and developing innovative techniques. Advanced manufacturing requires expertise in areas such as computer-aided design (CAD), robotics programming, data analysis, and advanced materials science.

5.    Training and Education: To meet the demands of modern manufacturing, education and training programs have adapted to provide specialized technical and vocational training. Community colleges, vocational schools, and apprenticeship programs offer courses that equip individuals with the necessary skills for manufacturing careers. These programs emphasize the development of technical proficiencies and problem-solving abilities, ensuring that workers possess the competencies needed to excel in contemporary manufacturing roles.

6.    Career Advancement Opportunities: Manufacturing jobs can provide significant opportunities for career growth and advancement. While entry-level positions may require fewer qualifications, they often serve as stepping stones for individuals to gain experience and develop their skills. With time and dedication, employees can progress to higher-skilled roles, supervisory positions, or even pursue entrepreneurship within the manufacturing sector.

7.    Economic Impact and Innovation: Manufacturing remains a crucial sector for national economies, contributing to GDP, exports, and employment. The belief that manufacturing jobs are low skilled undermines the economic significance of the industry. Moreover, manufacturing plays a pivotal role in driving innovation, as it often serves as a hub for research and development, fostering technological advancements that benefit various sectors of the economy.

While manufacturing jobs have been traditionally seen as low skilled, this perception fails to account for the changing nature of the industry and the skills required in today's manufacturing landscape. Technological advancements, specialized expertise, and the evolution of advanced manufacturing have rendered many manufacturing roles highly skilled. Recognizing the complexity and diversity within the manufacturing sector is crucial for both individuals seeking rewarding careers and policymakers looking to foster economic growth and innovation.

Here are some popular manufacturing job roles in the UK along with their anticipated salary bands:

1.    Industrial Engineers: Industrial engineers in the UK can expect salaries ranging from £25,000 to £50,000 per year, depending on experience and industry sector. Senior industrial engineers with significant expertise and managerial responsibilities may earn over £60,000 annually.

2.    Robotics Technicians: Salaries for robotics technicians in the UK typically range from £25,000 to £40,000 per year. Experienced technicians or those working in specialized industries such as automotive or aerospace may earn higher salaries up to £45,000 or more.

3.    CNC Programmers: CNC programmers in the UK can earn salaries ranging from £25,000 to £45,000 per year. Those with extensive experience and expertise in complex machining operations or programming advanced machinery may command higher salaries.

4.    Quality Control Inspectors: In the UK, quality control inspectors can expect salaries between £20,000 and £35,000 per year. Salaries may vary depending on the industry, level of responsibility, and expertise in specialized inspection techniques.

5.    Process Engineers: Process engineers in the UK typically earn salaries ranging from £25,000 to £45,000 per year. Senior process engineers or those working in industries such as pharmaceuticals or oil and gas may earn salaries exceeding £50,000.

6.    Maintenance Technicians: Salaries for maintenance technicians in the UK range from £20,000 to £35,000 per year. Highly skilled and experienced technicians or those working in industries with high-demand skills, such as renewable energy or advanced manufacturing, may earn higher salaries.

7.    Supply Chain and Logistics Managers: Supply chain and logistics managers in the UK can earn salaries between £30,000 and £60,000 per year. Salaries vary based on the size and complexity of the supply chain operations, industry sector, and level of experience.

8.    Welding Technicians: Welding technicians in the UK typically earn salaries ranging from £20,000 to £40,000 per year. Factors such as the industry sector, welding expertise, and certifications can influence salary levels.

It's important to note that these salary ranges are estimates and can vary based on factors such as location, company size, industry, and individual qualifications and experience. Salaries may also be subject to change over time due to market conditions and demand for specific skills.

If you are after a new position in the manufacturing industry, or need to find that ideal candidate, then speak to one of our recruitment experts today by giving us a call on 01442 299000 and see how we can help you or alternatively email us at