Industry Market Trends

Doing More Than Just Talking About the Problem: Welcome to IMT Career Journal

Jan 22, 2013

There is a manufacturing workforce challenge in America.

There are vacant jobs that can't be filled, and plenty of pundits have spent time talking about how the resurgence of manufacturing in America is in jeopardy. It's easy to talk about a problem without truly presenting solutions on how to keep a downfall from happening.

Welcome to IMT Career Journal Welcome to the IMT Career Journal. Credit:

At ThomasNet, we wanted to do more than just talk about the problem. We wanted to grab hold of the problem and find solutions.

We first indicated the problem when we rolled out our annual Industry Market Barometer (IMB). When we surveyed over 1,600 manufacturers on their business prospects and the outlook of the industrial sector, we saw what problems they were experiencing. The results we got back were thought provoking.

Manufacturing is making a comeback in America, due in part to companies pushing forth Made in America quality. In the most recent IMB results, 8 out of 10 manufacturers expected to continue to grow.

But what we also found was that employers were having a hard time finding skilled, talented people to fill the positions in their companies. This gave us pause because the narrative around the country had been "there are no manufacturing jobs," yet here were employers saying otherwise. Well-paying, and high-tech, manufacturing jobs were all over the country and waiting to be filled.

In her column published on Industry Week, Eileen Markowitz, president of Thomas Industrial Network, the parent company of ThomasNet, said, "...Manufacturing jobs are going unfilled. Nearly half of our respondents want to bring in line workers, skilled trade workers, and engineers. But the people who are qualified for these jobs are either untrained, or uninterested."

If there are jobs available, then why are they so difficult to fill?

One reason presented by Markowitz was that many of them, including students, see manufacturing as "dead," lacking opportunities or challenges, and even as dirty or "undesirable" work. "They're blind to the reality that today's manufacturing jobs blend design with technology and robotics, and many pay extremely well," Markowitz noted.

People view manufacturing as non-opportunistic work that won't take them anywhere. That simply isn't the fact, and it got us thinking about how we could fix that perception. More importantly, how could we help manufacturers accomplish their goals of finding the right people to fill jobs?

It was these questions that conceived IMT Career Journal. We could create a resource for everyone who wants to be a productive, working member of society -- including students at all levels, military veterans, and those who are seeking to return to work - to learn about the opportunities in manufacturing, learn how to get into manufacturing, and learn how to further their careers in manufacturing. And if we could create a resource where all companies in the industrial sector could contribute and educate, and interact with the community and get better-qualified employment candidates, we can help bridge the manufacturing workforce gap.

IMT Career Journal will cover labor topics and so much more that is specific to manufacturing and industry. Already, we have published articles ranging from STEM scholarships  to highly useful resources for military veterans. We're highlighting what job seekers, who are still very optimistic, are looking for in a job.

Our focus won't be on just employees or employers, or just students or veterans. We're focused on industry as a whole and how industrial careers are rewarding both financially and spiritually. We're focused on engineers and skilled trades workers. We're focused on people who have been in manufacturing for decades as well as people who are just getting into it. Because at the end of the day, hard-working individuals of all types drive our economy forward - and we are here to support all of them.

Welcome to IMT Career Journal. We can promise you that with every visit to our site, you will have learned something new and gained a deeper understanding about the opportunities in manufacturing. To stay up to date on all we have planned, subscribe to our newsletter (at the top right of this page). And once again ... Welcome!