Could robotics be the merging point between the technology generation & a waning workforce? Experts believe so.
“We’re Hiring”, it would seem, is the new global mantra as jobs for skilled workers (and sometimes manual workers) remain unfilled. The COVID-19 pandemic is a major factor at present time. However, an unfortunate truth is that vocational training has lost its allure at a time when the world desperately needs people trained in skilled technology jobs. A glaring side effect of these unfilled jobs is the nearly catastrophic supply chain. Parts, components, and materials of all kinds are taking months to reach industrial manufacturers instead of weeks. These delays in production cause delays in finished product reaching consumers. The result? Guaranteed delivery dates are no longer a consideration.
We didn’t get here overnight, and experts have predicted it may take a decade or more to fix. There are more than enough villains but consider that today’s 18-35 demographic grew up and went to school with computers, this has ultimately shaped the last 2 generations’ choice of profession and/or trade. Colleges now offer degrees in video game design. Social media platforms are the most prominent source of news. Celebrity & pop culture are shaping the market, creating an avenue where “influencers” can make 6-figure wages in short order. As is the case with such trends, it causes others to seek out similar income avenues rather than be trained in a trade skill.
While this problem is not exclusively limited to the United States, there are steps that every company in the industrial manufacturing/production world can take to enlighten and motivate the next generation of trade skill workers. Intern, co-op programs and apprenticeships are important. Consider the rise in demand for robotic automation and engineering. Companies who design, engineer, and install custom robotic automation systems are constantly looking for talented, motivated individuals willing to learn. With the rapidly growing world of industrial automation helping to improve the manufacturing space, a new job market has emerged creating with it a new realm of skills & positions. This market is seeking out ways to enhance manufacturing and production autonomously and that aligns with the always evolving tech world.
It won’t be a quick fix. Communication and promotion of such needs in engineering is critically important. The next generation headed to the workforce is crucial to be marketed to. Robotic engineering, electrical engineering, programming, etc. are all creative, problem-solving opportunities that lead to hands-on experience and newly emerging career opportunities. It is incumbent upon the automation industry to spotlight the enormous opportunities that await those seeking to work within technology particularly as it pertains to robotic automation. Engineering degrees are helpful, but those with the appropriate aptitude and attitude can easily (but not quickly) be trained to become valued resources. In short, many automation engineering jobs do not require a college degree. In fact, some robotic integrators relish the opportunity to teach these positions “on the job”.
RōBEX, a Perrysburg OH based robotics integrator, is one such company. This manufacturing engineering-based company has dramatically expanded since opening its doors in 2017. Lead by a team with a combined 300+ years of robotic engineering experience, they’ve been able to attract intelligent, talented people and created an environment where they can grow personally and professionally. Their core business is developing automation solutions for customers in manufacturing, beverage, food, building products, packaging, and warehouse distribution.
“While there’s some truth to the fact that our business has been particularly strong because of the shrinking workforce, as we’ve all seen, automation has created and is continuing to create new jobs. Those new jobs & skills are ones our team knows and can help to provide that knowledge to the next generation entering the workforce” said Cal Bowers, Vice President of Growth.
RōBEX is a precision certified integrator of automated systems that include industrial robots, collaborative robots, smart conveyors, autonomous mobile robots, autonomous mobile forklifts and more. One of their ongoing objectives has been to automate dozens of “manual tasks” within a plant, increasing efficiency, safety and productivity.