The workforce transition to advanced manufacturing isn’t just about upgrading technology; it’s about upgrading people.

Within the next decade, more than 40% of tasks performed in some manufacturing industries will be done by robots, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s report “The Robotics Revolution: The Next Great Leap in Manufacturing.”

While true that robotics will automate some jobs, it is also true that companies will need workers with advanced manufacturing skills to run the robots. As the BCG report states, “the capacity of local workers to master new skills and the availability of programming and automation talent will replace low-cost labor as key drivers of manufacturing competitiveness.”

The future leaders of manufacturing will position themselves for this shift.  The question is, how?

The combination of robotics and employees with advanced manufacturing skills improves productivity and efficiency. Advanced manufacturing (making goods with a combination of software, hardware, and processes using innovative technologies) already accounts for 13% of US jobs, according to “These 3 Industries Are Getting Transformed By Advanced Manufacturing,” on the Manufacturing.net blog.   The article states that companies like Tesla are ‘freeing up workers to focus on the most crucial aspects of assembling a vehicle.”  As other car makers adopt these practices, they need to plan how to mitigate the costs of a changing workforce.

Skill Clusters: Traditional vs. Advanced Manufacturing

This chart shows how companies associated with advanced manufacturing (in right column) seek 50% more IT-related skill clusters than “traditional” manufacturers (37% of job postings by advanced manufacturers ask for IT-related skills, compared to just 18% of the traditional manufacturers).

IT Skills Traditional vs Advanced Manufacturing

Source: Burning Glass Technologies

 

How to Remain Competitive

As the pace of innovation increases, companies will need to redeploy existing talent in new and useful ways while mitigating the cost of redeployment through adjacent roles and learning and development (L&D). Labor market data analysis helps businesses understand emerging skills that align with strategic plans and technology advancements, allowing companies to build from within and identify hidden talent pools.

This up-front research and planning will enable organizations to reduce the overall cost of a layoff by helping internally redeploy employees.  Planning also reduces a company’s overall liabilities and costs by indicating where it might redeploy people externally.

Understanding the nuances of job market data can help you determine what skills your organization needs and identify the types of skill sets the company already has within the organization, enabling redeployment efforts.

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