Where the Future Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) Jobs Are

Author: John Soldatos
Category: Enterprise Maintenance and Reliability

The industrial maintenance field has recently entered a new phase of growth, characterized by technological advancements, which come with increased needs for a highly skilled workforce. Currently, there is a noticeable talent gap in the digital technologies that are used for the development and deployment of industrial maintenance applications.

In order to alleviate this talent shortage, enterprises and governments need to understand the major trends that are shaping the industrial MRO job market. With this knowledge, they can then take appropriate measures at the corporate and public policy levels.

Industrial maintenance job market trends

The industrial maintenance labor market is driven by the following trends:

These trends suggest that it is not easy to recruit younger workers who could fill the existing talent gap in digital technologies for industrial maintenance. To address this, enterprises should be more creative in their HR and recruitment processes.

Preparing enterprises for the new MRO workforce requirements

In the above-illustrated landscape, enterprises should be prepared to address the new workforce requirements through proactive employee recruitment and retention. The most prominent of these measures include:

New MRO employee profiles

In revising their recruitment processes, enterprises should also consider that Industry 4.0 maintenance requires entirely new profiles and job descriptions.

A recent report by Manpower identified some of the digital roles and skills that will be soon associated with “smart” manufacturing, such as manufacturing driven by digital technologies and cyber-physical systems (CPS). Similar roles can be specified for other types of industrial enterprises and their environments such as energy plants and oil refineries. These roles include:

These roles provide new job opportunities, which were not available a few years ago. Sooner or later, industrial organizations will be introducing these roles in their corporate structures and in their recruitment processes.

Government policies to proactively support MRO workforce development

Industrial automation and maintenance activities are particularly important for the competitiveness of industrial organizations, as well as for the wider economic growth. Hence, governments should also take measures to alleviate the talent gap in industrial maintenance and to boost enterprises’ ability to recruit proper workers. Relevant policies should focus on:

It’s critical to revisit corporate processes for human resources and recruitment, while identifying the MRO workforce skills needed in the next five years.

Author: John Soldatos

John Soldatos holds a Phd in Electrical & Computer Engineering. He is co-founder of the open source platform OpenIoT and has had a leading role in over 15 Internet-of-Things & BigData projects in manufacturing, logistics, smart energy, smart cities and healthcare. He has published more than 150 articles in international journals, books and conference proceedings, while he has authored numerous technical articles and blogs posts in the areas of IoT, cloud computing and BigData. He has recently edited and co-authored the book “Building Blocks for IoT Analytics”.

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