What does the Near-shoring of Manufacturing Jobs Mean for the Job Market? | DCR Workforce Blog

What does the Near-shoring of Manufacturing Jobs Mean for the Job Market?

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts’, said Arnold Bennett, the British novelist. The US manufacturing industry would readily agree with this statement. When manufacturing jobs were outsourced to locations in Asia to take advantage of the lower costs, a lot of experienced and qualified American workers were left without employment.

Now the manufacturing jobs are returning near-shore and on-shore, thanks to sharp increases in rising fuel costs inflating transportation costs, labor wages and quality control concerns and public demand for American-made products. A case on point would be the health scare associated with children’s toys due to lead-tainted paints used and the toxic levels of dog treats produced in China. Intellectual property and trade secret issues between electronic giants are also a factor contributing to the phenomenon of near and in-shoring. Companies like GE and Apple have led the market in bringing work back home.

The Types of Jobs

Change has a way of affecting more than one aspect of a situation, and the manufacturing industry is no exception to this. The jobs that were off-shored were typical blue-collar jobs but the ones being on-shored are a mix of blue and white collar jobs. Why?

  • Manufacturing today is less about low-tech product such as textiles and more about high-tech things like medical equipment and electronics.
  • Advances in robotics technology reduce development costs below the labor costs of offshore workers.
  • The use of advanced robotics requires higher levels of education and training.
  • The ability to use information driven technologies such as web-enabled programs, RFID scanners etc. would also be more in demand.
  • Decision-making and management would be in higher demand too.
  • In today’s manufacturing plants, operating machines and tools are controlled by computers, requiring specialized training.
  • Many state governments and trade organizations are offering training and incentive programs to reskill workers in order to entice manufacturing companies to establish local operations.

As the economy continues to mend, the talent crunch will only get worse, as the aging baby boomers with manufacturing talent – where the average age today stands at 53 – start retiring. t A growing number of people are availing themselves of these new training programs and accepting internships or temporary positions to gain experience and to determine if these new positions are a fit.

Health care is another major area where employers are struggling to find workers with a lot of temporary opportunities being thrown open. Let us talk about it another time.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.