Deloitte LLP and The Manufacturing Institute have just released their annual Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing index, which indicates that Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy. Nonetheless, most Americans have negative views about pursuing a career in manufacturing.
The majority of respondents (71%) view manufacturing as a national priority with 59% agreeing that the U.S. manufacturing industry effectively competes on a global scale: "The public's ranking of manufacturing as the top industry of importance to our economy, as well as its belief that U.S. manufacturers can compete globally, is very telling," said Craig Giffi, Deloitte LLP vice chairman and U.S. Consumer & Industrial Products industry leader. "Americans clearly still believe that manufacturing remains the backbone of the economy."
Most also agreed that America's manufacturing industries have a significant impact on their standard of living (81%) and on national security (68%). When asked what industry they would most want to have creating 1,000 jobs in their community, respondents listed manufacturing as their top choice, followed by technology, energy, health care, retail, communications, and financial institutions.
In spite of this, only 17% of the respondents named manufacturing as among their top two industry choices to start a career, and only 30% of parents said they would encourage their children to pursue jobs in manufacturing.
"This survey sheds light on a massive disconnect we are facing in manufacturing," said Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute. "People have an outdated image of manufacturing and the career opportunities available. Cutting-edge technology has transformed manufacturing in ways that are hard to imagine if you haven't visited a factory lately. Jobs now require postsecondary education, skills certification and credentials across a broad range of high-quality, middle-class career paths. The reality is that manufacturers offer high-paying jobs and rewarding careers for American working men and women."
More than three quarters of the respondents (77%) believe that the U.S. needs a more strategic approach to develop its manufacturing base, and 74% said that the U.S. should further invest in manufacturing industries.