If you’re entering the workforce in the industrial sector or thinking of changing careers, you may feel like you’re standing on the bank of a rushing river, trying to figure out the best time to jump in. If you’ve been a part of the industrial workforce for a while, you already know that the world of work has changed dramatically and that the ground hasn’t stopped shaking yet. Nor is it likely to in the next few years (despite how it feels like, sometimes!)
Industrial work has been under a magnifying glass for many years. Despite all the noise about automation and how industrial workers will no longer be needed in the future, that day has yet to arrive. In fact, last year Canada’s manufacturing and warehousing sector experienced modest growth. Though the manufacturing sector will likely undergo some growing pains in 2018 as trade dispute cool the export market in Canada, there’s still a lot of industrial work to go around.
so does that mean industrial jobs are still needed?
Let’s clear up this common misconception. Industrial work is not going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, the type of industrial work and how it’s performed has changed, but economies still rely on this sector to stay afloat. Manufacturing (converting raw materials into finished products) and warehousing (storing them) are the most common units in the industrial sector and continue to be vital to economic viability, regardless of what form they take. For anyone looking for flexibility, job satisfaction and opportunities for professional growth in a rapidly evolving, increasingly technology-driven industry, opportunities in the industrial sector are out there.
check out job opportunities in the industrial sector
would industrial work be a good fit for you?
you’re hardworking, diligent and focused
Industrial work requires a lot of mental focus. When many people think of industrial jobs, they think of mindless, repetitive ‘factory’ work. The truth is many industrial jobs actually require a lot of mental focus and attention to detail. If you’re picking orders you need to pay careful attention to collecting the right orders. If you’re a shipper or receiver checking addresses and monitoring inventory is key. If you’re a quality assurance worker, you’ll need a critical eye to quickly and efficiently spot defects. All these jobs require you to be present and mentally sharp.
you’re collaborative and able to work independently
As an industrial worker, you’ll often need to rely on your team as you’ll often be responsible for one part of a bigger process. However, you need to be able to manage your own workload efficiently so your entire team doesn’t fall behind. Your reliability and ability to cooperate with team members bring immeasurable value to your employer.
you enjoy hands-on work
You’re willing to flex your muscles as well as your brain. Most industrial jobs require physical strength in addition to mental sharpness. This isn’t an industry where you’ll be behind a desk all day (though the higher up the chain you move the more desk work will be required). You’ll probably be on your feet all day, walking around, lifting and moving things. You could be unpacking pallets, sorting and moving heavy merchandise, or darting from one end of the warehouse to another to pick orders. You thrive when you’re able to keep moving and active all day. You know paperwork and office life isn’t for you. You enjoy the satisfaction that comes from seeing your hard work lead to tangible results.
you’re not intimidated by technology
This one might surprise many people, but industrial work is very tech-driven. You need to know how to use and be comfortable with the machines that streamline your work (think forklifts, barcode scanner guns, automated packing machines, inventory management systems, and a whole lot more). You can work a forklift as readily as you can analyze product schematics; if not, you’re willing to learn. You recognize that technology is an important element of industrial, and especially manufacturing, work. Diversifying your skills is a boon to employers and will often allow you to tap into higher paying opportunities, and eventually supervisor or management jobs.
you like the flexibility of shift work
Instead of seeing shift work as a challenge, you enjoy the opportunity it provides to create unique work-life balance. Industrial jobs have a lot more variety in shifts than most other sectors. For instance, you might have a 3-day work week with three 12-hour shifts. Or you might work an early shift starting at 5 am, so you’re finished work at 1 pm, leaving the rest of the afternoon free for you to live your life. Though shift work can come with its own challenges – you might sleep when the rest of your family is awake or miss out on family dinners some nights – if you find a shift that fits with your lifestyle it can be worth the change.
If you’re looking for a sector that offers growth and advancement, with opportunities to hone your skills and learn new ones, industrial work is a great choice. You like being part of an industry sector that contributes directly and indirectly to support national and global economies, as well as communities closer to home.
If you’re looking for security, consistency and a job that never changes, an industrial career isn’t for you. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find any employment in the new work world order. But if you’re looking for opportunities for personal and professional growth, the chance to make a significant difference and the satisfaction of seeing tangible results for your labour, you’ll find it in the industrial sector. Doesn't that sound like something you’d like to be part of?