Public Perception on Industrial Manufacturing

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Public Perceptions on Industrial Manufacturing

American have a positive perception towards the manufacturing industry as they believe that it is vital for the country's economy. On the other hand, there are negative perceptions regarding how the industry is declining in the U.S., the low paying jobs, unfulfilling careers and automation in the manufacturing sector.

Decline of the Manufacturing Industry

  • According to a survey by Leading2Lean in 2018, 70% of Americans believe that the manufacturing industry is declining. 1,002 Americans aged 18 and older participated in the survey.
  • Moreover, 58% of the respondents believe that the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States is declining and 71% agree that outsourcing to foreign countries is the main factor leading to the decline of jobs.

Manufacturing Industry and Career Selection

  • 39% of the aforementioned surveyed respondents said that the low earning potential in the manufacturing industry is the third cause of the decline of this industry, and only 55% think that the manufacturing industry offers fulfilling careers.
  • 45% of the respondents think that manufacturing jobs are an attractive option for younger workers. In fact, Gen Z is more interested in the manufacturing industry as a career than the millennial generation.

Manufacturing Industry and Economic Prosperity

  • According to an online survey conducted by Deloitte in 2017, 83% of respondents consider the manufacturing industry as vital for the economic prosperity of the United States. 1000 Americans participated in this survey.
  • In the same survey, 7 out of 10 Americans think that the development of a strong manufacturing industry should be a priority for the country and the government.

Working in the Manufacturing Industry

  • According to the 2019 Leading2Lean survey, 27% of respondents agree that Generation Z has the most positive attitude about working in the manufacturing sector. Millennials are the next group with 26%, Generation X in third place with 17% and Baby Boomers in the last place with 14%.
  • Statistics show that 6 out 10 positions in the manufacturing industry are unfilled, and this is attributed partly to false perceptions of the industry. One example of these erroneous assumptions is that: "Over half of Americans assume a manufacturing manager's annual salary to be less than $60,000" according to Leading2Lean survey 2019.

Manufacturing and Technology Perceptions

  • According to the 2018 Leading2Lean survey, "54% of millennials believe that robots, AI and machines will replace all manufacturing jobs in the United States." 22% of millennials disagree with the affirmation that robots and tech will replace manufacturing jobs.
  • This is directly related to the fact that 58% of respondents of the aforementioned survey believe that there is currently a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers in the United States. 50% of generation X Americans and 47% of American baby boomers think that tech will replace manufacturing jobs as well.

Research Strategy

We started our research by looking through specialized websites such as Leading2Lean and The manufacturing Institute. In these sources, we were able to find surveys with representative samples of more than 1000 American adults, both women and men of 18 years or older. These surveys about the general attitudes of the American people towards the manufacturing industry enables us to understand the general perceptions. Other reliable and specialized websites like Monroe Engineering and Automation World corroborated the information that we found in the surveys. Although some sources older than two years, the information is still reliable and is corroborated by more recent sources.
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