Guess What, Kids? You Don’t Really Want A Job In Manufacturing

I just stumbled across CNN/Money’s list of Best 100 Jobs for 2012. The list shows those jobs that are expected to grow and earn more money in the US over the next decade.

I was shocked – but not at all surprised – at the number of manufacturing-related jobs that made the list. Maybe you will be too. But probably not.

The answer is zero. Nada. Nuthin’. Goose eggs.

Oh, there are titles that suggest ‘manufacturing’ – somewhat. But you look at the list and you tell me.

Being very, very liberal in my impressions, I counted a total of 10 growth jobs on the list that even remotely dance around the primary creation of manufactured goods. They include Biomedical Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Civil Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Applications Engineer (no, not a manufacturing process applications engineer – this one is for computer applications), Telecommunications Network Engineer, Construction Project Engineer, and – the absolute closest title to manufacturing I could spot – Supply Chain Analyst.

Check the list yourself, and while you’re at it scope out the average anticipated salaries. You’ll also notice that each job has been rated in four general categories: personal satisfaction; low stress; benefit to society; and flexibility.

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but as manufacturing has finally entered the national debate in a big way, we’re recognizing that we have a serious skills shortage & its impact on our ability to innovate. Various estimates indicate salaries for manufacturers, machinists, and high-tech shop-floor managers at anywhere from $50-70k per year. So how on earth could not one manufacturing job make this list?

Were those jobs simply not considered? Was there some bias from the start? Are we being fed a social engineering agenda to keep manufacturing out of the equation?

I think you know the answer to those questions. It’s a seemingly small thing, this list. But it’s indicative of the disconnect between a necessary and valuable section of our economy and the rest of the population.

This is a sin of omission that none of us that understand manufacturing should accept. Those kids that are gifted to become our next generation of makers deserve a better – and more accurate – message.

Written by AJ Sweatt