Skills in demand
Manufacturing skills transfer well to these other industries
Manufacturing is, by all accounts, an industry in transition. On the one hand it’s been framed as America’s dying industry, declining steadily from its peak in the late 1970s as the engine of economic growth. On the other, it’s been rebounding lately, with about a 10 percent increase in employment to date since bottoming out in 2010.
No matter your take on the status of the industry, one fact remains: There are 7 million fewer people employed in the industry today than there were in 1979. This figure is incentivizing former manufacturing workers to explore new career possibilities for a number of reasons.
Today’s manufacturing workers have a wealth of skills that are transferable to other industries, some of which are experiencing a dire labor shortage.
We combed through hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs posted to ZipRecruiter over the past year and determined the skills that employers consider paramount to these jobs. Then we cross-referenced those skills with the 10 in-demand skills for every industry to determine which industries manufacturing workers could most easily transition into.
This is great news for workers and employers, given that all three top transfer industries are growing, and labor is in short supply throughout most metro areas in the country. Plus, wages for construction workers are growing rapidly, outpacing the national average by two full percentage points as of May.
Best (and worst) cities for transfers
We looked at the ZipRecruiter Opportunity Index — the ratio of jobs to job seekers — for each industry on our list in the top 50 metro areas by population.
Metros with the Most Transfer Opportunity
- 1. Buffalo, New York
- 2. Minneapolis
- 3. Portland, Oregon
- 4. Providence, Rhode Island
- 5. San Jose, California
Metros with the Least Transfer Opportunity
- 50. Orlando, Florida
- 49. Las Vegas
- 48. Hartford, Connecticut
- 47. Houston
- 46. Riverside, California
Most of the metros in the top five boast about two available jobs for every job seeker. Buffalo has an average of nearly three jobs for every applicant, with most of the opportunity being in the technology and business industries.
In each of the low-opportunity transfer metros, good levels of opportunity tended to be in the industries with the fewest skills in common with manufacturing, such as in retail and finance, rather than construction and engineering, which were well-represented in the top metros.