Employment of industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers is expected to grow 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialty.
Employment of industrial machinery mechanics is projected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Increased adoption of sophisticated manufacturing machinery will require more highly skilled mechanics to keep the machines in good working order.
Employment of machinery maintenance workers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Increased automation, including the use of many new computer-controlled machines in factories and manufacturing plants, should result in less demand for lower-skilled maintenance workers.
Applicants with a broad range of skills in machine repair should have good job prospects overall. The need to replace the many older workers who are expected to retire, as well as those who leave the occupation for other reasons, should result in numerous job openings. Some employers have reported difficulty in recruiting young workers with the necessary skills.
Mechanics are not as affected by changes in production levels as are other manufacturing workers because mechanics often are kept during production downtime to complete overhauls to major equipment and to keep expensive machinery in working order.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition