Labor Machinists & Mechanics

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01
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Part
01

SWOT of Transport-related Mechanic/Machinist Workforce

The transportation industry includes mechanics and machinists who have special skill sets and certifications to perform a wide range of tasks within the industry. While the rise of technology has made some of their tasks easier by creating better tools it is also taking away jobs as the industry finds new ways to automate. In some places, this has become a rising problem within the industry, and it seems as if it will only get worse in the future. The main savior for many jobs though is the need for advanced skill sets to work and maintain the automation parts and pieces.

STRENGTHS

One of the most important strengths of the industry is that automation is a very new part of the transportation industry. They are just in the first phases of the testing self-driving cars and 18-wheelers. For a while, they will still need the drivers to ensure that the bots are working the way they are intended to be and report any bugs. There is at least a decade before we start seeing the use of these kinds of vehicles, but even when they start hitting the market and being used there will still be a need for mechanics to service and machinist to produce parts. The machinist industry is expected to grow by 2% and mechanics by 9% in the coming decade. These numbers also could be low because they are mostly assuming general trends stay the same, so if automation more quickly hits the market or booms, there may also be a boom in the machinist and mechanic industry as well to keep up with demand.

WEAKNESS

The most challenging weakness seen in the skilled worker industry is a decline in new workers coming into the industry. With fewer workers entering the industry there aren't as many workers to replace the ones that are soon to retire. This can be as much as 40% of the workforce that retires within the next decade. The lack of having new entrants causes companies to look for other ways to replace workers or bolster their forces which can be either outsourcing or replacing workers with technology that does the same job.
An example of this is in the aviation industry where the median age of workers is 51 years old. New workers that take aviation training also don't always continue into the industry, and as many as 30% take a different job when done training. Speculated reasons for this involve the wages and benefits for aviation mechanics, but no further information was provided.
Another industry being affected by shortages is the auto mechanics. Vehicles have become more technologically advanced but less high schools are teaching vocational programs to students resulting in fewer workers with the skills to enter the workforce after high school. Turnover is up to 20% for auto mechanics and many of those currently employed fall into the Baby Boomer generation who are largely set to retire in the next 5-10 years. Like stated above there are not enough new workers entering the field to make up for those retiring which will cause a gap and cost companies a pretty penny to find solutions.

OPPORTUNITIES

There are innovations coming to the car and truck-making industry that will allow for automation of these vehicles. There will need to be workers in place as machinists to create these and mechanics to maintain them in the long run. Coming with this new technology will be new certifications needed by workers to perform their jobs. Many different organizations are already working on updating their programs to include information on how technology is shaping the jobs of mechanics and machinist. They are also creating new certifications and classes that can be taken to work on more advanced technology used in automation and even AI type systems. It is important that companies work on getting these certifications for their workers and that employees take advantage of the chance to get the certifications. Not far in the future, these jobs will become incredibly important, and those with the skills will fare better in the job market then those that didn't get the certifications.

THREATS

The biggest threat is automation because as employers find more ways to automate different jobs those jobs are lost to the employees that used to work them. So far automation has taken over between 360,000 to 670,000 jobs and while this is less than 1% of the employment-population more jobs are becoming automated. Another similar threat is the growth and evolution of AI. As scientist and engineers create better robots that can think and process the information they can do more jobs and work more efficiently. Between robots and AI, technology wages have seen a $0.25-0.50 decline with one robot per thousand workers. Another threat is the loss of jobs to outsourcing. In the 15 years between 2001 and 2016, 54,000 manufacturing companies left the US for other countries that have cheaper labor costs. Companies can save money by sending their work to Mexico or China where workers get significantly lower wages for the same levels of work. This takes the jobs away from the US and makes it unlikely the jobs will return due to the money companies would lose in bringing them back.

OTHER RESOURCES

Two sets of notable resources on the list of sources are the Bureau of Labor Statistics pages on Automotive Mechanics and the page for Machinists. There is also an Industry at a Glance report along with the general information pages that go over what they believe the trends to be in the coming years. They also go into more detail into current trends of how many workers are employed in different parts of the industries and the expected change over the next ten years (2016-2026).

CONCLUSION

The mechanic and machinist fields are seeing a decline in their employment-population because they are seeing more workers retire than new workers coming into the force creating a gap. They also see more use of automation in their jobs and the transportation industry as a whole. While many of their jobs aren't yet at risk to automation fewer workers to work means that companies need to look for other solutions.

Part
02
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Part
02

Mechanic/Machinist Workforce Hypothesis Analysis

The introduction of new technologies will result in the loss of jobs for skilled mechanics and machinists in the United States and Canada if they do not right-skill and build new capabilities. The aviation and automotive industries are already feeling the effect of job losses due to the limited skills available to deal with the new technologies in planes and vehicles. However, the machinists and mechanics can learn to improve their skills in dealing with the new technologies to secure their jobs in the changing work environment.

THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
There is an impending shortage of skilled mechanics to service the technologically advanced planes that were designed and built after the year 2000 in the United States and Canada. In the next five years, there will be a greater demand for skilled mechanics in the aviation industry, and it will outpace the supply. There are very few millennials interested in training in aviation mechanics. This is likely to cause more problems and lower the number of skilled mechanics who can service the advanced planes. There will be a gap in expertise as the aviation industry will have to find a way of servicing both newer technology and older technology aircraft. The emerging technologies in the aviation industries are posing a problem to the available mechanics making it important for them to right-skill and build new capacities.

The emerging technologies that affect the skill requirements for maintenance mechanics in the aviation industry include new information technology systems, predictive maintenance and advanced analytics, next-generation avionics and electrical systems, and composite material repair. Existing and new mechanics will have to learn these skills to be successful in servicing the technologically advanced airplanes. Moving forward, mechanics will require skill sets to work on the newest planes and those that have been flying for about twenty years. Future maintenance technicians will have to be tech-savvy diagnosticians.

THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
There has been an advancement in the automotive technology both in Canada and the United States and technology leaders such as Tesla, Google, and Uber are striving to develop self-driving cars. The decline in the number of automotive technicians has intensified with the computerization of vehicles, and the vocational programs are slowly disappearing from high schools. The wave of electric vehicles is likely to wash away the large group of skilled labor that exists presently. Presently, the available mechanics are used to engines with more moving parts, and that require oil changes, but the engines of the electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and do not require oil changes, fuel filters, emission checks, and replacement of spark plugs. 90% of the present mechanics in the automotive industry in the United States turn away the electric vehicles and hybrids because they do not have the skills to repair them. There is a need for education and continued training to keep up with the fast-changing automotive technology. Advancing the profession of automotive mechanics requires digital skills to develop a diagnostician who can solve vehicles problems without physical clues. The future automotive mechanic will have to be someone who can change tires and also operate scanning and diagnostic equipment to eliminate problems that involve data processing and computer networks.

THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY
Technological advancement is also evident in the railroad industry. Environmental concerns, decreasing implementation costs, and doubts over energy security have made the rail to seek alternative ways of powering itself. Possible replacements for the diesel include hydrogen and liquefied natural gas. There is increasing digitization of processes behind key systems in rail operation. The rail industry is using the Internet of Things (IoT) to facilitate the delivery of monitoring and real-time analysis through on-board sensors, identify problems that are likely to cause delays, and facilitate preventative and automated maintenance. Therefore, the future operators of the trains and operations at train stations in the United States and Canada will need to have technological knowledge to keep up with the changing industry or risk losing their jobs.

LEARNING NEW SKILLS
New technologies will lead to job losses for the workforce that involves physical labor such as machinists and mechanics in both the United States and Canada. However, the governments of both countries can take an active role in effecting a better transition and enabling people to learn more skills. The mechanics and machinists can learn new skills and switch their occupational categories to match the skills required for the different tasks. As new technologies take over more jobs, there will be a need for other capabilities and skills such as emotional and social skills, creativity, logical reasoning, and cognitive capabilities. Therefore, besides learning the skills associated with the new technologies, machinists and mechanics in Canada and the United States should learn other skills that cannot be incorporated into the technologies. These will ensure they blend well into the new environment and find it easy to also take up other roles in their workplace.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, it is true that new technologies will result in the loss of jobs for skilled machinists and mechanics in Canada and the United States if they do not right-skill and build new capabilities. The automotive and aviation industries are already feeling the effect of job losses due to the limited skills available to deal with the new technologies in vehicles and planes. However, the mechanics and machinists can learn to improve their skills of dealing with the new technologies to secure their jobs in the changing work environment.

Sources
Sources