5 Most Common Student Misperceptions of Manufacturing

In order to better understand some of the pre-conceived impressions that our young talent have towards manufacturing, we sat down and interviewed over 30 technical high school and college students throughout Manufacturing Day events. Below are the five most common misperceptions that students shared. 

It is important to note that, by the end of the day, almost all of the students we interviewed told us that their experience and exposure to manufacturing had changed these initial impressions. However, prior to Manufacturing Day, the students’ exposure to the sector came entirely from history books, the news, and commercials.

Misperception: Manufacturing is Repetitive

“I thought manufacturing was just factories doing repetitive tasks. I didn’t account for the idea that as time progresses, the jobs in manufacturing do too. And with time I think it will only get better.”

“A lot of people who want to do software engineering think that manufacturing is a process where you do the same thing over and over again. If the employers reach out and say “you can innovate to make our system faster and more productive” that could be one of the main focus points for attracting people.”


Misperception: Manufacturing is Unsafe

“I have spoken to some of my friends and most of them think its [manufacturing] is unsafe – they think that you can get hurt or killed in a factory. They have a medieval vision of what it means to work in a manufacturing job. We just don’t get exposed to manufacturing jobs besides what is in our history books which portrays a much different picture of manufacturing. So that is all that we see.”

“I thought it would be unsafe, but now looking at it I feel like there isn’t much of a threat.”


Misperception: Manufacturing is Manual

“I thought that it would be a lot more physical than software. I knew there was software involved but I did not know to what degree. Here we saw it is a big part; people working hands-on is important but so is software.”


Misperception: Manufacturing is a Root Cause of the Climate Problem, Not a Potential Solution

“When you think about manufacturing, we think about it in the past. We think about how burning fossil fuels effect the environment. My perception changed today. These young companies have found ways to help the environment and to sustain it.”


Misperception: Manufacturing Machines are Old and Outdated

“I saw some machinery that I’ve never seen before and it opened my eyes to how many machines can be used in this industry. It is not like the machines you picture in a factory. They are machines that are customized to everybody’s needs and can change the way products are created”

“I didn’t think so many machines would be needed to produce a single product. It’s exciting not intimidating. Now you can appreciate how much work and precision goes into making one of these products.”