One of the earliest core missions of the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance was to change the negative perceptions that had grown around manufacturing among students and
parents — perceptions that were an obstacle to attracting young talent to the industry. This past October, NEWMA conducted a localized version of a national survey done by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The results show the negative perceptions are fading.
The results will serve as a benchmark for future surveys as NEWMA continues its education about the careers and conditions manufacturing can provide.
Expected growth of manufacturing activity, 2016 – 2017
Americans appear to be more optimistic about growth in recent months, and manufacturers are no exception. The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey shows manufacturers’ optimism at an all-time high in the survey’s nearly 20-year history. This corresponds with a pickup in manufacturing activity, as well as a rising confidence the new administration in Washington will bring much-needed regulatory relief — as well as reforms to the tax code and a significant infrastructure package.
In this latest NAM survey, 93.3% of manufacturers were either somewhat or very positive about their own company’s outlook, up from 56.6 percent one year ago and 77.8% in December. The NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Index also soared to a new high, up from 53.3 in December to 63.7 in this report. It was the second-straight quarter where the outlook exceeded its historic average — which would equate to 50 in the index — and there were strong gains in confidence for all firm sizes.
Keeping women on board: Retention drivers and perceived gaps
Opportunities for challenging assignments, work-life balance and attractive income are often the most important aspects of a woman’s career. Manufacturers seeking to retain talented women should consider aligning their employee policies to match these demands.