Why Manufacturing?

Inspire The Next Generation

What we’ve learned from our conversations around the country is how important parents are when it comes to their kids’ career choices.

Now, you may not feel your kids listen to you at times, but regarding careers, parents set expectations, answer questions and steer decisions.

At the same time, parents told us they often feel they don’t know enough to give proper advice on the jobs of tomorrow or struggle to give guidance on what to study at school and college.

And when it comes to manufacturing, parents sometimes feel they’re drawing on out-of-date information and missing out on a chance to tell their kids about exciting careers.

To help answer your questions and spark your thinking on inspiring your kids, we have put together this fact sheet.

Q: Why should young people consider modern manufacturing?

Manufacturing roles give young people the chance to design and build real things, whether it’s self-driving cars, lifesaving drugs or new ways to create green energy. You get the satisfaction of seeing your work impact people and society.

And the demand is enormous. Manufacturing companies are yearning for new talent. Modern manufacturing will generate 3.5 million high-skilled jobs in the next decade.


Q: What kind of opportunities and roles are out there?

Lots—and these go far beyond the shop floor. In modern manufacturing, you’ll find people in the design studio, laboratory, workshop and office as well as across different industries, whether that’s aerospace, biopharmaceuticals, computing, automakers or energy.

What makes modern manufacturing different is the chance to create and make—and that means lots of different roles and jobs.


Q: What skills or aptitude do you need for a career in modern manufacturing?

Different firms look for different things, but what’s common across the industry is a need for curious, imaginative thinkers. Modern manufacturing requires people who are willing to look at things in a fresh, new way and to consider “what if” and “why not.”


Q: What sort of salaries can you command in modern manufacturing?

Given the demand for these roles, jobs are well-rewarded. On average, a manufacturing job pays more than $81,000 a year in salary and benefits. Manufacturing jobs also offer lifelong training and room for progression, so young people can expect a fulfilling and reliable career path.


Q: How will automation impact modern manufacturing?

Like other industries, technology is changing manufacturing, which makes it a very exciting time to get involved. Modern manufacturing jobs involve combining new technology with the skills manufacturers have always used: problem-solving, creativity and imagination.


Q: What should my kids focus on at school or college for a career in modern manufacturing?

Manufacturing companies, whether they’re big brands or smaller entrepreneurial businesses, look for a range of skills and are interested in people with different academic backgrounds.

What’s often important, however, is a good command and comfort with math and science or a willingness to learn more about these subjects. Given the teamwork involved in modern manufacturing, good communication skills are vital.


Q: What level of education would my kids need?

It all depends on the role, but there are lots of routes into modern manufacturing. Some require a college degree, while others involve on-the-job training or apprenticeships for kids coming out of high school or with a few years of community college.

What sets manufacturing apart from many other sectors of the economy is the commitment to lifelong training and education. The teaching you get in the first few years of your career is designed to build on the foundations of what you learned at high school or college.


Q: What prospects or growth opportunities would my kids have in modern manufacturing?

Modern manufacturing is changing, and with exciting new technology, such as 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, big data and computer-aided design, we are set to see lots more innovation in the next 20 years. Manufacturing careers can take kids in many different directions and around the country.


Q: Where in the country are these jobs?

The short answer—everywhere. Take Pfizer as an example. The company has 17 manufacturing locations across 11 states and Puerto Rico. Manufacturing companies are found in all parts of the country, and there’s a strong ecosystem connecting big brands, small businesses and start-ups.


Q: What impact can my kids make in modern manufacturing?

We heard from a lot of parents that they worry about careers where their kids may not make an impact or just feel they’re sitting at a desk or fiddling with apps. With manufacturing, however, you get to see your impact daily, from the products we all use and the medicines that give us good health to the transportation and energy we depend on every day.


Q: How can my kids or I learn more about modern manufacturing?

These videos are testimonials from young people and other individuals who’ve thrived in manufacturing. These can help give you and your kids a feel for what people in modern manufacturing do daily and the types of things you can work on in manufacturing.

In addition, the annual Manufacturing Day, on October 6, offers manufacturers from around the country the opportunity to open their doors to parents, students and educators so they can get a firsthand look at modern manufacturing. See here for events near you.