High-paying jobs in manufacturing: Fact or fiction?

As a small business in South Carolina also expanding our manufacturing and fabrication capabilities, we’re familiar with the promise of high-paying jobs in our state, especially in manufacturing industries requiring skilled laborers. Maybe you’ve heard these comments too:

  • “Attend a trade school; get a two-year degree in welding and you can make $80K per year.”

  • “Kids that attend a technical school and get a two-year degree can have a high paying job for life in aerospace.”

Yet, despite these promises, manufactures struggle to attract employees, and students often seem uninterested in (or disillusioned by) a manufacturing career.

What accounts for this disparity?

In this article for South Carolina Manufacturing, Paul Kumler, president and co-founder of KTM Solutions, considers the effects of a global market. Shopping experiences like those found on Amazon or eBay demonstrate the same kind of globalization that affects the manufacturing industry. Offshoring, the US focus on university education, and the desire for inexpensive labor all come into play. What does it take to compete in this field in the context of the world market, and how can manufacturing companies create attractive job opportunities?