The Rapidly Evolving Workplace

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The Rapidly Evolving Workplace

By 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,1 the nation’s workforce will expand by 15.6 million jobs. At that point, three of every four American workers will be employed in service and professional jobs.

The 10 occupations with the fastest growth over the next decade will be:

  • Network systems analysts — 53 percent
  • Personal and home care aides — 51 percent
  • Home health aides — 49 percent
  • Computer software engineers — 47 percent
  • Veterinary technicians, — 41 percent
  • Personal financial advisors — 41 percent
  • Makeup artists — 40 percent
  • Medical assistants — 35 percent
  • Veterinarians — 35 percent
  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors — 34 percent

At the same time, while the service sector gets all the attention, there’s a threat lurking in the shadows: a growing shortage of workers to fill highly skilled manufacturing jobs. Because of the retirement of baby boomers and the lack of young workers to replace them, many companies are operating at less than capacity.

According to the most recent survey by the National Association of Manufacturers, 90 percent of manufacturers say they are facing a shortage of qualified workers that is either “moderate” or “severe.”

Reuters2 reports that these job openings are growing despite the fact that manufacturing jobs pay an average of $60,000 a year, which is 25 percent more than jobs pay in the service sector. In addition, most of these skilled jobs with manufacturing firms offer job security and good benefits.

And yet, the U.S. Labor Department warned recently, “Too few young people consider manufacturing careers.” Why not? The problem may be the perception that every manufacturing position is being off-shored to countries such as China, where labor costs are much lower than in the U.S. That may be true of low-skilled manufacturing jobs such as simple assembly tasks on a production line.

However, the Chinese workforce lacks the skills needed in precision manufacturing jobs. Consider those at Hamill Manufacturing near Pittsburgh, where machinists make sophisticated parts for military helicopters and nuclear submarines. The company would expand its workforce by 10 percent — if only it could find machinists to hire...

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