Even as the coffee brews and the machines warm up in the factories of the electronics manufacturing industry, there's an undeniable chill in the air. The stalwarts, with their years of dedication to circuits and solder, are inching toward retirement. And the daunting question echoes in the quiet of dawn, "Who will fill their shoes?”
The workforce, steeped in years of experience navigating the complex universe of electronics production, is growing older. The median age of manufacturing employees in the USA has risen from 40.5 to 44.1 in the last two decades. Even more concerning, some studies within the electronics industry point towards a higher median age of 53.6.
The unfolding consequence of this aging trend? An impending workforce deficit that, if unaddressed, could leave the industry grappling with vacant roles and a drain in experiential knowledge. This workforce challenge in the context of a $2.5 trillion manufacturing sector raises the question of how the electronics manufacturing industry can preserve its future amidst these dual pressures.
However, replenishing the workforce with fresh talent is no easy feat. The manufacturing sector, particularly in electronics manufacturing, has witnessed increasing recruitment challenges. Lingering perceptions of manufacturing jobs as lacking glamour and future prospects, compared to sectors like tech or finance, deter potential talent. Moreover, the specialized technical skills required for these roles are often not adequately imparted through traditional education. The resulting skills gap is glaringly evident among recent graduates, many of whom have been educated during the era of COVID and often lack the practical technical skills required in this field.
The complexity deepens as the industry isn't one where newcomers can contribute from day one. The specialized jargon, the intricacies of electronic components, the nuances of setting up machinery, the often razor-edged relationship with suppliers - it all takes months of hands-on training to master. And often, by the time these new employees are ready to contribute, they're already enticed by the next shiny opportunity.
The stakes are high. We are looking at a potential loss of years, if not decades, of invaluable hands-on experience and expertise. This deficit threatens not just operational continuity, but the very innovation capabilities that give companies their competitive edge. It's a ticking time bomb, and we can't afford to hit the snooze button.
The perfect storm of these dynamics raises an imperative question: What is the future of the electronics manufacturing industry, and how can it navigate this pressing workforce challenge?
Automation can step in to handle the tasks that often seem tedious but are crucial to the everyday functioning of the electronics manufacturing industry. In a time when technology can create artworks and pen sonnets, surely, we can entrust it with our more mundane tasks?
This is where tools like Breadboard can act as the much-needed lifesaver. Breadboard streamlines and automates the quoting and procurement process, a critical part of the manufacturing workflow. By managing these processes efficiently, Breadboard liberates the human workforce to focus on the tasks that demand their unique expertise and creativity.
Here are some ways in which Breadboard can be a game-changer:
While Breadboard's capabilities represent just one piece of the puzzle in confronting the industry's workforce challenges, they reflect the broader potential of automation in this space. Automation can free up the workforce to focus on strategic thinking and problem-solving tasks while dealing with complex and time-consuming processes more efficiently.
Although the road ahead for the electronics manufacturing industry has its challenges, innovations like automation provide a viable way forward. As the sector contends with an aging workforce and skills gaps, tools such as Breadboard are game-changers, helping the industry to stay on pace with our digital age.
To find out more about how Breadboard can support your operations, please don't hesitate to reach out to us today.