89% of manufacturing CEOs say a critical shortage of top talent is now their prime concern when it comes to recruitment, a recent Deloitte Manufacturing Institute report reveals. As the industry has become increasingly automated and technology-orientated, a lack of STEM skills is one of the reasons manufacturing is experiencing a growing skills gap. Moreover, around 4.6 million manufacturing jobs are estimated to need to be filled in the next ten years, while as many as 2.4 million jobs may go unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. It’s, therefore, essential for personnel in the manufacturing industry develop the specialized skills needed to succeed in an increasingly technology-driven industry.
Programming, digital, and critical thinking skills in high demand
50% of manufacturers report having already adopted automation and that the key skills now essential in workers are programming, digital, and critical thinking, according to Deloitte. In particular, workers need to be skilled in operating, implementing, and executing a host of pioneering manufacturing technologies, such as, automation, machine learning, robotics, artificial intelligence software development, cloud development, and 3D printing, as well as be competent at tapping into big data and extracting insights offered via data science. Keep in mind, however, you don’t necessarily have to become a master of every relevant digital skill. Many companies hire separate data scientists who work with subject-matter experts to create tools for things like factory-floor analytics and rapid materials characterization — being able to collaborate and communicate with experts across disciplines is therefore an equally-important skill.
Importance of comprehensive conveyor belt system skills
That’s not to say the skills gap in the manufacturing industry is solely digital. In fact, traditional manufacturing skills (such as, process engineering, quality management, machining, and assembly) are still in high-demand. Moreover, conveyor belt systems are also a widespread technology now used throughout the manufacturing industry. Primarily, they’re used to move packages and materials from point-to-point at minimal cost. Conveyor solutions are favored, in particular, for their ability to boost efficiency and capacity, while also being reliable and minimizing operational costs. Factory floor workers therefore need to develop and strengthen specific skills relevant to flat belt conveyors, including flat belt conveyor operation, maintenance, adjustment, and troubleshooting. Specifically, factory floor workers also need to learn key skills, such as, belt installation, operation, inspection, and linear speed calculation in order to be wholly confident and capable while on the job.
Continuing education is key to success
By taking an advanced continuing-education manufacturing course, professionals in the industry can equip themselves with the skills needed for continued success. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology runs an online additive manufacturing (AM) course designed to help students looking to apply AM (also known as 3D printing) in their current role or move into an AM-oriented role. In particular, students will develop a cutting-edge perspective on digital transformation across the manufacturing industry, as well as the factory of the future.
The future of manufacturing remains bright. By focusing on developing technology-oriented and traditional skills in high demand, workers can better remain competitive in an increasingly automated world.