It’s a Detroit manufacturing professional’s bat signal – except in the form of a GE ad campaign.
Owen, the unfortunate and awkward centerpiece of a GE ad campaign, breaks the news to his family and friends that he got a job as a software developer at GE. Owen’s news is met with a no-longer-needed-for-the-job old sledge hammer, as handed down from his dad and grandpappy, and general confusion and disappointment that “developer” doesn’t mean “smart phone app creator.” Though he reassures that he will be helping to fashion machines to make other machines and contribute to bettering the world, no one seems to understand his excitement.
GE’s ad campaign “What’s the matter with Owen?” underscores the real-world trends occurring in manufacturing today, creating a larger stage for the engineering needs of various areas in the United States, including Southeastern Michigan and our very own Metro Detroit area. In fact, the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) concluded after analyzing the 2010–2015 job postings of our region’s manufacturing industry that the number one job posted among manufacturing employers was software development for applications. This helps illustrate the increasing demand for app developers in manufacturing, as it has jumped 416 percent since 2010. Following the app developer’s number one spot were mechanical, electrical, manufacturing, and industrial engineer positions. Additionally, software developers appeared in the top 20 list of in-demand manufacturing industry occupations.
IT positions have also been in high demand in Southeast Michigan since 2010, helping the manufacturing industry to push the cumulative momentum gathering across all industries, such as health care, finance, and retail – just to name a few.
According to a recent WIN survey of more than 230 business leaders in Michigan, the most likely technologies to affect businesses in the next five-plus years are cloud computing, mobile Internet and workplaces, portable tablet computers, and various forms of social media. So, generally speaking, it’s more than safe to say that future Michigan manufacturing workers will need to be plentiful and IT savvy.
Perhaps not quite in the mobile-phone-app-developing way.