industrial factory worker working in metal manufacturing industry

More than half of U.S. manufacturing workers are willing to take a pay cut to work in a more tech-driven factory, according to Epicor’s latest “Voice of the Essential Manufacturing Worker” survey. This highlights the growing demand for modern workplaces in the industry. 

Manufacturing workers are steadily growing more comfortable with tech in their workplace. More than eight in 10 workers (83%) who’ve used new tools or technologies reported increased efficiency. And fears about losing their jobs to automation are dissipating (down from 64% to 52% this year).

However, manufacturing companies seem to be slowing their pace toward tech adoption. Only 48% of companies are eager to embrace technology this year, down from 50%. And just 39% of surveyed workers would describe their current workplace as “very modern” — 18% consider their workplace outdated.

In addition, the percentage of companies actively pursuing upskilling and employee training has dropped 10% compared to last year (down to 70%). And only 45% of companies are prioritizing sustainable working conditions, even though more than half (55%) of employees want to see improvement in this area. 

With employee morale trending down — only 45% of manufacturing employees said morale was high this year, a drop from 52% last year — and 43% of workers considering leaving their jobs over the next year, the time is ripe for manufacturing companies to adjust to what their workers want.

For more on the workplace expectations of frontline manufacturing employees, see the full report