Parents Still Not Getting the Message About Manufacturing Getty Images

Parents Still Not Getting the Message About Manufacturing

A new survey finds that while parents aren’t actively discouraging their kids from taking manufacturing jobs, they still aren’t sold on the idea.

The message about “the new manufacturing”—that it can be a vocation, not a job, requiring higher thinking and offering opportunities for advancement—may be well-known within the industry, but isn’t quite resonating with parents yet. A new survey finds that while parents aren’t actively discouraging their kids from taking manufacturing jobs, they still aren’t sold on the idea.

According to the Alcoa Foundation’s Parents’ Perception of Manufacturing Survey,  89% of parents think that the average hourly wage for manufacturing jobs is between $7 and $22 an hour.  In reality, according to the Manufacturing Institute, the average is $34 an hour. (A caveat: The MI’s hourly rate includes benefits, and benefits were not mentioned in the survey’s hourly wage question.)

The online survey, conducted by Toluna, polled 1,035 American parents of children ages 6-17 and has a 3% margin of error.

 More than three quarters (77%) of parents surveyed say they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. Even more—86%—consider manufacturing jobs financially and professionally rewarding. Yet—somewhat head-scratchingly considering those percentages—only 33% of parents associate manufacturing jobs with opportunities for career advancement. And only 22% see the work as innovative and intellectually stimulating.

“Parents have some awareness about manufacturing careers, but there are still looming misperceptions about the robust, exciting prospects for their sons and daughters, especially as more than half of manufacturers see a shortage of manufacturing talent,” Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA, a non-profit skilled workforce partnership, said in a statement.

One in five parents who responded to the survey think that manufacturing job provide only minimum wage salaries and don’t offer benefits.

But according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce:

The average annual salary for entry-level manufacturing engineers is $60,000.

Ninety percent of manufacturing workers have medical benefits.

Manufacturing workers have the highest job tenure in the private sector.

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