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2017 US perception of the manufacturing industry

Manufacturing matters to the American public

The public has weighed in. Survey findings show manufacturing is deemed vital for economic prosperity, but why are many Americans not interested in pursuing manufacturing careers? Examine survey results from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute’s sixth US public opinion of manufacturing study. By leveraging these insights, manufacturers can drive interest and support.

A look ahead: How modern manufacturers can create positive perceptions with the US public

As revealed in Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute’s study, the American public’s perception of manufacturing may be at an inflection point. Manufacturers have an opportunity to actively create more positive perceptions of the industry, and specific recommendations are outlined in the study.

As illustrated in the study, manufacturing clearly matters to many Americans, with the vast majority viewing US manufacturing as crucial to America’s economic prosperity, standard of living, and national security. In the mind of the average American, though, many of the current perceptions of manufacturing haven’t kept pace with advances in the industry, leaving a gap between perceptions and reality in terms of critical factors such as job stability, pay, and benefits.

The good news is the perception of the industry’s future looks promising. It seems the American public understands future jobs in manufacturing are likely to be high-skilled, high-tech, cleaner, and safer, as well as more innovative and creative than they are now.

Download the study and see steps manufacturers, either individually or collectively, can take to actively create more positive perceptions about the industry.

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Manufacturing matters: The public’s view of US manufacturing

Manufacturing matters: Top 10 US public opinions about the manufacturing industry

Top 10 US public opinions about the manufacturing industry

We analyzed the results of the study and have put together the top ten perceptions Americans have on the US manufacturing industry. Download the Top ten list infographic to see the details.

  1. US public overwhelmingly believes manufacturing is vital with more than eight in 10 Americans indicating the importance of the US manufacturing industry in maintaining the ‘American Way of Life.’
  2. America needs to invest more in, and further foster, manufacturing.
  3. A silver lining—While current overall perception of US manufacturing is mixed, a few segments (American parents, Gen X, and those familiar with manufacturing) rank a manufacturing facility at the highest position for creating new jobs.
  4. While there is still plenty of room to grow, the 2017 perception about the future of manufacturing is on the rise and many believe that the US manufacturing industry is high-tech, can compete globally, and will grow stronger in the long term, compared to that in 2014.
  5. Job benefits and a good pay are the two most sought after factors that Americans look for in a job over job stability and security.
  6. Americans are apprehensive about a career in manufacturing because they are worried about job security and stability, a weak career path and poor pay.
  7. American parents and Americans with high manufacturing familiarity are nearly twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career, than non-parents and those with low familiarity.
  8. Americans have a strong and positive perception about future manufacturing jobs and about eight in 10 Americans believe that manufacturing jobs in future will be more innovative requiring higher technical skills, creativity, problem solving capabilities while being more clean and safe due to automation and reduced manual labor.
  9. Americans have expressed interest for programs that focus on hands-on skills development like internships, apprenticeships, and certification on manufacturing skills as possible ways to attract talent to manufacturing.
  10. A dichotomy exists between what the industry needs and what technologies the public is most aware of when it comes to critical advanced technologies in manufacturing with US executives ranking predictive analytics and advanced materials vital to future manufacturing competitiveness, and the general public not being largely aware of these strategically important technologies.

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Past Surveys

  • Unwavering commitment: The public's view of the manufacturing industry today

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