The job outlook for industrial maintenance personnel is projected to grow by about 7% over the next decade or so. This is about average, but it does still mean there will be more and more maintenance technician jobs available in the future.
Now, why is that?
Part of it is the increased role that technology plays in industrial processes. The more machines a plant’s operations use, the more maintenance work will be needed to keep them running.
Of course, some people worry that advances in technology and automation will actually start replacing technicians’ jobs, but that really doesn’t seem to be the path the tech is taking. The focus is more on streamlining their jobs and enabling them to be more productive.
That said, technicians’ jobs will likely change quite a bit over the next ten years.
One of the largest changes that we already see happening is a shift from reactive maintenance to proactive models, particularly with Industry 4.0 technology. Predictive maintenance using sensors and intelligent root cause analysis systems will mean problems are not only detected before they result in a failure, but the diagnostics are handled automatically.
This means a maintenance technician’s job will involve less diagnostic work and routine tasks and more responding to automatically generated work orders.
CMMS adoption is also projected to grow, which further increases the role data will play in technicians’ work. Work orders, asset tracking, and reporting are often handled manually, but CMMS systems are likely to change that with cloud-based services and remote connectivity. Maintenance data becomes more current and highly visible.
Of course, one of the challenges here is the fact that maintenance teams will have to adapt to these technologies. Implementing CMMS software, IIoT tech, and predictive maintenance procedures will mean technicians will need to be trained in their use.
If they’re implemented too quickly, it could result in frustration and exacerbated inefficiency. On the other hand, if they are phased in intelligently, it will empower technicians to be more efficient at their jobs and to make their role more visible.
The end result of that would naturally emphasize the importance of the role they play, which will only serve to solidify their position in maintenance and facilities management.