Why Parents Don’t Want Their Kids to Work for Your Company

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Nothing personal, but a lot of parents wouldn’t want their kids to work for your manufacturing company. No, it’s not because they think you’re using child labor. Rather, it’s because too many American parents believe that manufacturing jobs aren’t “good jobs.” So when parents talk to their kids about classes and careers, a future in manufacturing isn’t even an option. Is there a way change the conversation?
Ironically, most parents understand the value of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. According to the 2015 Parents’ Perceptions of Manufacturing Survey from Alcoa and SkillsUSA, 87% of parents believe that STEM education is critical for career success. Nearly two-thirds of parents (65%) also say they are familiar with career opportunities in manufacturing.
So what do parents think of these career opportunities? Unfortunately, their perceptions are poor.
Approximately 1 in 5 parents (21%) believe that manufacturing jobs lack benefits and pay low wages. Nearly 9 out of 10 parents (89%) estimate the average hourly wage of a manufacturing worker at between $7 and $22. According to the Manufacturing Institute, however, average wages and benefits are actually much higher ($34/hr). Moreover, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 90% of manufacturing employees have medical benefits.
Parents also misunderstand the educational requirements for a manufacturing career. Although 72% of parents believe that a “good job” requires a four-year bachelor’s degree, 34% think that manufacturing jobs don’t require a college education. In reality, however, modern manufacturing needs educated employees who are also skilled problem-solvers. Meanwhile, more than half of manufacturers are concerned that there’s a shortage of available talent.
Are you concerned that the manufacturing skills gap could hurt your company’s bottom line? Are there efforts that you’re making to change people’s perceptions of manufacturing, if only in your local community?
Image Credit: © Dollar Photo Club


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