Which manufacturing sectors experienced the most growth in job openings over the past year? We used Lightcast™ to dive into the 789,969 unique job postings for the past 12 months (May 2022 to May 2023) and organized by North American Industrial Classification (NAICS) codes. In this case, we are better able to understand what sectors are experiencing the most growth. As a reminder, the data get more granular with increased digits.
The top manufacturing sectors over the past 12 months at the 3-digit NAICS level, ordered by the number of unique postings, were:
- Computer and Electronic Products (NAICS 334) – 103,507 unique postings
- Transportation Equipment (NAICS 336) – 93,075
- Food Manufacturing (NAICS 311) – 78,397
- Machinery (NAICS 333)– 74,193
- Chemicals (NAICS 325) – 72,254
The top manufacturing sectors over the past 12 months at the 4-digit NAICS level, ordered by the number of unique postings:
- Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing (NAICS 3345) – 66,411 unique postings
- Beverage Manufacturing (NAICS 3121) – 54,837
- Aerospace Products and Parts (NAICS 3364) – 40,541
- Pharmaceuticals and Medicines (NAICS 3254) – 27,442
- Motor Vehicle Manufacturing (NAICS 3361) – 25,006
➔ The takeaway: Though growth in manufacturing has been broad-based, many of the sectors leading job creation over the past year require advanced skills and yield high salaries. Looking at only the top five 4-digit NAICS manufacturing sectors list above, the median advertised salaries for those five sectors over the past 12 months was $36.12 per hour.
* Lightcast™ data accessed on June 16, 2023.
Speaking of the importance of flexibility, a Harvard Business Review survey of 5,700 onsite US workers in industries like manufacturing, transportation and health care found a mismatch between the flexibility options that companies provide and what employees actually want.
What companies are offering: The most common flexibility options that onsite workers reported were relaxed dress code (55%), flexible start and end times (33%) and choice over hours they worked (31%).
What onsite workers want: When asked what flexibility options they would change jobs to get, onsite workers reported increased paid time off or vacation time (57%) and four-day work weeks (44%).
Employee engagement matters: People with engaging work and one week of vacation report 25% higher well-being than actively disengaged workers who have six or more weeks of vacation, according to Gallup research.
- Among those with fully onsite work responsibilities, Gallup finds that those with a four-day work week report lower active disengagement and higher overall well-being.
Lack of flexibility is a top workforce challenge for employees, according to a recent report released by the MI. To address this concern and help employees attract and retain more workers, the MI has been convening manufacturing leaders to discuss flexibility solutions, identify what’s working and share insights. Here are some of the key takeaways.
The shop floor challenge: Flexible work arrangements for shop floor workers are different from those offered to office staff or remote workers, as manufacturers must fulfill in-person production requirements and timelines.
- Companies have gotten creative, testing out different options including compressed work weeks, rotating schedules, flex scheduling, shift swapping and phased retirements.
A data-driven approach: Participants in the MI’s working group conducted surveys to gauge the types of flexibility their employees wanted. Companies then assessed production needs before determining what flexibility options they would test, sometimes with the help of a consultant.
- One company collected data on recruitment and retention as part of their pilot to help evaluate its effectiveness.
- Other companies utilized employee engagement surveys to assess the success of their pilots.
Support system: Companies in the working group talked about the importance of creating support structures for flexibility plans.
- For example, one company hired a training and scheduling coordinator to manage their new systems. Others employed technology platforms to organize shifts.
- Supervisors also needed to be trained to handle new systems and manage flexibility requests while meeting production demands, the participants noted.
Stay tuned: The MI is planning to release a white paper based on the working group discussions in the fall.