Kronos Survey Finds Many Americans Know Very Little about the Manufacturing Industry

CHELMSFORD, Mass.--()--According to a recent survey commissioned by Kronos Incorporated and conducted online by Harris Poll1, more than 50 million Americans2 have limited to no knowledge about the manufacturing industry, answering “I know nothing about it” in the survey when asked about their perception of the manufacturing industry. The survey also finds that when provided an up-to-date and accurate portrayal3 of the manufacturing industry, 50 percent of employed Americans3 said that they would be likely to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry if they were just starting out.

The “Manufacturing Day: If You Knew Then What You Know Now” survey was conducted Aug. 30 -Sept. 1, 2016 among 2,020 U.S. adults ages 18 and older – 1,159 of those are employed – and 532 have student loan debt. The survey explored Americans’ knowledge and perception of the manufacturing industry and their approach toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. The survey findings also highlight the impact student loan debt has on Americans’ current approach toward STEM education and related manufacturing careers.

Kronos will host an expert panel on Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 12:00–2:00 pm at the Cambridge Innovation Center, 50 Milk Street, Boston, Mass. comprising of manufacturing industry and academic experts from BAE Systems, General Electric, Jabil Circuit, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Northeastern University. Panelists will discuss implications of the survey results; issues facing the industry today; as well as demonstrate the value of a career in manufacturing to high school and college students and others attending the session. To RSVP visit Kronos is also a sponsor of MFG Day being held across North America on Friday, Oct. 7.

Survey News Facts

  • Americans today know very little about the manufacturing industry and its opportunities:
    • Only five percent of employed Americans work in the manufacturing industry today and more than 50 million Americans (21 percent) have limited to no knowledge of the industry.
    • One in four (25 percent) Americans knows that there are significant amounts of jobs and opportunities offered within the manufacturing industry.
    • Less than a quarter of Americans (23 percent) know that the manufacturing industry offers well-paying jobs.
    • Only 14 percent of Americans believe that the manufacturing industry is a fast-growing industry.
  • Americans’ attitudes toward STEM education are as follows:
    • Nearly seven out of 10 (69 percent) employed Americans wish they were more knowledgeable about STEM subjects.
    • Nearly nine out of 10 employed Americans (89%) believe careers with a focus on STEM subjects have a promising future.
    • However, nearly two thirds (65 percent) of employed Americans state that STEM skills were not a focus for them when they chose their career path.
  • Paying off student debt is a big focus for Americans when choosing career paths:
    • Twenty-five percent of Americans have student loan debt and, among them 44 percent have $50,000 or more in student loan debt.
    • Eighty percent of millennials (age 18-34) who have student loan debt feel that their student loan debt is a burden.
    • More than three out of five (61 percent) millennials who have student loan debt state that their loans could have been paid off faster if they had chosen a different career path than their current one.
    • Sixty-two percent of employed millennials would do something differently knowing what they know now about their current career path; among these, one in five (20 percent) would have chosen a career more focused on STEM subjects.
  • Americans want to work in an interesting and growing industry:
    • Three out of five employed Americans (60 percent) are disappointed with their current career path.
    • Among those who are disappointed, nearly one out of three (32 percent) say the reason is because they are not in a career that they dreamed of having, while 30 percent feel that there is a lack of opportunity in their career path, for example advancement opportunities and the ability to expand on their skills.
    • Among employed millennials who are disappointed, one out of five (20 percent) say the reason is because they are not interested in the industry.

Supporting Quote

  • Kylene Zenk-Batsford, director, manufacturing practice group, Kronos
    “Efforts within the manufacturing industry in recent years to shift the public’s perception of the industry, especially those centered on Manufacturing Day, have definitely had a positive impact. The survey results, however, demonstrate that there is still a lot of opportunity to drive awareness about manufacturing as a stable and growing industry and the fantastic STEM-related careers it offers. Kronos will continue to be a passionate advocate helping inspire and educate the next generation manufacturing workforce through our sponsorship of MFG Day and more.”

Supporting Resources

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of Kronos from Aug. 30–Sept. 1, 2016 among 2,020 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,159 are employed and 532 have student loan debt. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Indrani Ray-Ghosal.

About Kronos Incorporated
Kronos is a global provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations – including half of the Fortune 1000® – and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

About Harris Poll
Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Contact us for more information.

© 2016 Kronos Incorporated (no claim made as to The Harris Poll survey). All rights reserved. Kronos and the Kronos logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. See a complete list of Kronos trademarks. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners.

Footnote 1: This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll from Aug. 30–Sept. 1, 2016 among 2,020 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,159 are employed and 532 have student loan debt. Throughout this press release, “Americans” will be used to represent unemployed, as well as full- and part-time workers weighted to the online U.S. population and “employed Americans” will be used to represent full-, part-time, and self-employed workers weighted to the online U.S. population.

Footnote 2: Calculation based on the U.S. Census website that estimates there are 321,418,820 people in the U.S., with 22.9 percent being under the age of 18. The total population multiplied by the percentage of people under 18 provides the number of people in the U.S. over the age of 18. Therefore, 321,418,820 X .229 = 73,604,910: 321,418,820-73,604,910 = 247,813,910. This number, representative of the over 18 population in the U.S was then multiplied by the percentage of people who said they know nothing about the manufacturing industry (21 percent): 247,813,910 X .21=52,040,921 million Americans.

Footnote 3: Respondents were provided with the following information that came from a survey commissioned by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte that examined the skills gap. “U.S. manufacturing industry is stable and growing, and manufacturing in America continues to be a pillar of the economy. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2015, manufacturing accounted for 12.1 percent of gross domestic product in the economy. However, the industry is changing as baby boomers approach retirement and a new workforce gets ready to take their place. Research done by Deloitte & Manufacturing Institute shows that some 3.4 million manufacturing job will need to be filled by the year 2025. And, that if current hiring trends continue, roughly half of those jobs could remain unfilled. In a nut shell, manufacturing in the U.S. is holding steady and is an industry with plenty of future opportunities for those willing to take them.”


Kronos Incorporated
Indrani Ray-Ghosal, 978-947-3042


Kronos Incorporated
Indrani Ray-Ghosal, 978-947-3042