November was a tough month for the tech industry. Amazon shed a reported 11,000 jobs, Meta dropped 13% of its workforce—or another 11,000 jobs—and Twitter’s new owner is talking about a loyalty oath even as he looks to cut costs and slash a reported 75% of the existing staff.
With all of these data-centric folks hitting the unemployment lines, this is a good time for them to take a fresh look at America’s new technology frontier.
The need for a larger manufacturing workforce has been well-documented—and it is documented in our new Salary Survey, which appears in our December issue of Machine Design. It’s an issue we’ve been documenting for a couple of decades now. Readers once again identify the lack of a skilled workforce as the biggest issue they face in manufacturing—ahead of the economy, the supply chain or productivity.
I hear the phrase “skills gap” in almost every discussion I have with manufacturing leaders and readers. We simply don’t have enough workers to allow manufacturing to achieve its growth potential as the world spins through a post-pandemic economic recovery.
But it also is clear we don’t have enough of the right kind of workers to propel manufacturing to achieve its promise. The key suppliers in this industry are touting the idea of a digital factory—an interconnected, interdependent, data-driven and optimized facility. They also are driving their product offerings to reflect that idea.
The digital factory is the wave of the future, and it is rising fast. Manufacturers of any size can benefit from this change, but they must decide to ride the wave. The alternative is to be swept aside.
To meet these goals, we need more workers who live and thrive in a digital environment. From supply chain to data management, we need an infusion of smart workers to go with a smart factory to enhance the workforce excellence we already have on our plant floors. We will not meet those goals without aggressive and compelling recruiting. We need to show the workforce of today the potential for the manufacturing of tomorrow.
So, let’s start here. For all those displaced folks at Meta and Amazon and Twitter, come on over to manufacturing. It’s the new home for data-driven technology, and you can be a part of making something that will last.