AI could solve the engineering brain drain, a new study says

AI could solve the engineering brain drain, a new study says
By: Posted: June 23, 2023

female engineering using a robot
A new study suggests that manufacturers are turning to AI to make their workers more productive.

  • Manufacturers are losing highly-skilled mechanical engineers, a Fictiv study found.
  • Execs are turning to AI-tools like virtual reality to make up for it and boost productivity.
  • Engineers are in “dire need of better tools,” the CEO of Fictiv told Insider.

The manufacturing industry may lose its most talented engineers in the near future — and experts believe AI can be a potential solution to the looming labor shortage, a new study suggests

Between April and May, researchers at Fictiv, a manufacturing services firm, surveyed 241 high-level executives at companies of all sizes that make consumer electronics, medical devices, and cars to glean how the global manufacturing industry has fared amid this year’s challenging economic conditions. 

97% of the decision makers who responded to the survey say a shortage of mechanical engineering talent is on its way. Nearly half of the respondents who oversee jobs in production manufacturing, supply chain, and engineering said they struggle to keep highly-skilled employees from leaving their companies and find it difficult to recruit new talent for open roles.

There are simply not enough workers with the skills required to meet the need, Dave Evans, the CEO of Fictiv, said. 

“Unfortunately, there are not enough students graduating with engineering degrees to meet this growing demand,” Evans told Insider over email.

The issue is exacerbated by economic uncertainty, inflation, and supply chain disruptions forcing companies to trim their costs through layoffs and hiring freezes to help mitigate financial risks, according to the study.

As a result, manufacturing executives are looking for new ways to address the labor shortage. 

New developments in technology like AI may be what’s needed to address the gap, Evans said.

85% of survey respondents said they have plans to adopt or have already adopted AI-tools like supply chain visualization platforms, industry-specific robots, and virtual and augmented reality tech to make existing workers more productive. 97% of respondents believe AI will impact product development and manufacturing tasks like quality control and product design.

“Artificial intelligence tools have the power to dramatically improve engineering productivity such that a team of 5 operates with the productivity of 20,” Evans said.

62% of decision makers say they are training their existing workers in AI tech to improve their workflows. Engineers, for instance, can be trained to use virtual reality systems to improve product design innovation, Evans said. 

Fictiv’s findings come as workers across industries use AI-tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to develop code, generate marketing materials, and create lesson plans to save time, and for some, money. 

Now, it’s only a matter of time before the manufacturing industry adopts AI. 

“Engineers and manufacturing teams are in dire need of better tools to help them work more efficiently,” Evans said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Provided by:



Moderator and Editor