October 31, 2020
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Precision Machined Products Association
Miles Free: Skills are essential, but most of our precision machining shops hire for attitude. We will help reliable candidates develop the skills that they need. If we look at employers having wants and needs: want - someone that knows their software. Needs - someone that knows how to adjust code; we'll teach them our software. Wants - excellent math skills. Requires the ability to do high school algebra, geometry, and trig.
Needs - people that can communicate an issue verbally and in writing.
That's where we see it. Critical thinking, ability to understand problems and their potential causes, ability to work well with others, without this, even a super-competent technically skilled person will probably find themselves changing jobs many times.
Miles Free: Our shops were hiring, even during the pandemic. (Some of us needed extra personnel as we were suddenly making ventilators.) 80% of our PMPA shops today say that they are looking for talent. Small family-owned metalworking shops are particularly useful places to make a career. We pay well, we are putting in the latest technology, our work is essential (in September, our sales were up 8.4%, while manufacturing, in general, was still down 0.3 %).
Our shops help with tuition and training expenses. Our wages are U.S. Household Median after a few years on the job. The best place to find a job in our field is to enroll in a local community college CNC machining program. My experience has been that an employer will likely be trying to hire you before completing your first semester.
Miles Free: Technology is going to create higher-value jobs than it is feared it will destroy. There is a shortage of talent. As our shops install more technology (automation) to make up for this, it will require higher-skilled people to program and maintain the new technology and train new people coming into the field. I see a healthy job outlook for machining skills, welding skills, mechatronics, robotics, and systems integration in manufacturing for a very long time. So the current talent will be upskilling to keep up with the new technology's needs. We are looking for a general opinion on entering the workforce!