4 ways to fill the manufacturing skills gap

Filling the skills gap in manufacturing requires participation. This is not someone else’s challenge to resolve. Here’s how you can help.

By Mark T. Hoske June 9, 2023
At the bottom of every article at www.controleng.com find a link to this author-inquiry form. Courtesy: Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology


Learning Objectives

  • Pitch in to help fill the skills gap by dispelling dull, dirty and dangerous myths.
  • Share knowledge through software, mentoring, articles and use of trusted tools like Control Engineering.
  • Enable career paths by providing budgets, tools, embodiment of knowledge.

Curing the causes of the skills gap in manufacturing requires participation. To those thinking again about this challenge and considering next steps, thank you. To those retiring in the next 10 years: Share your know-how now so your knowledge can live on.

Dispel dull, dirty and dangerous myths

1. Enlighten understanding about manufacturing careers among youth and dispel myths. Perceptions of manufacturing as a dull, dirty, dangerous and as a low-paying career are incorrect. Where jobs are dull, dirty and dangerous, practical uses of automation are improving safety and job satisfaction. Many manufacturing plants look more like high-tech labs. Manufacturing wages are increasing to gather the best talent and encourage those from other career paths to participate in automation, controls and instrumentation, a hugely satisfying career. Talk about and show this to youth at every opportunity.

Enable career paths by providing budgets, tools, embodiment of knowledge

2. Return on investment (ROI) for investments in automation, controls and instrumentation extends beyond the integrated automation hardware and software. Add in quantifications for safety and people saved from leaving through boredom by having more interesting and skilled positions working with automation, rather than performing dull, repetitive work. New, updated workflows and tools encourage younger generations to take interest and retain interest in rewarding careers with automation. Integrate legacy knowledge into those new processes and technologies before you retire.

Share knowledge through articles, software and mentoring

3. By sharing knowledge in articles, embedding knowledge of workflows, products and processes in your local software and through mentoring younger peers, you learn from them and create a legacy that will live on to benefit the world well beyond your career (and possibly your lifespan). Let your lifetime of knowledge live on.

Encourage use of trusted tools like Control Engineering

4. Part of mentoring includes sharing the “secret sauce” with those around you. Control Engineering has adapted with the times by continuing to research and cultivate and share critical information about automation, controls and instrumentation across about 65 industries.

Think again about how you can help us help the world.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Control Engineering, automation, instrumentation, education, skills gap


Think beyond next week to the next two generations in automation, controls and instrumentation.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.