Manufacturing is the backbone of the Canadian economy. When the manufacturing sector does well, other industries inevitably follow. After lagging in 2016, the manufacturing industry is rebounding and prospects for 2017 are healthy.
Manufacturers are facing one dilemma in 2017, however: as the aging baby boomer generation settles into retirement, manufacturers are unable to replace skilled workers fast enough. As many as 50% of manufacturers say they’re currently experiencing skilled labour shortages. Part of the issue at hand is the longstanding preference for university education over vocational training. The skilled trades have long suffered from being seen as 'blue collar' – it’s time that type of thinking was eliminated. The diverse skills required in modern manufacturing are every bit as complex and rewarding as any white collar industry.
There’s no question that today’s manufacturing jobs are very different from those of only a handful of years ago. As menial tasks become automated, employers are shifting away from general labour and towards skilled tradespeople. The list of hot manufacturing skills could easily be mistaken for a list of tech and engineering skills. A few of the top manufacturing skills in 2017 include: operating computerized systems, reading and interpreting blueprints, writing and configuring code for machines, and various expertise in mechanics, electronics, hydraulics and pneumatic systems.