Tasks and Skills in Additive Versus Traditional Manufacturing: a First Look at Evidence from Job Vacancies

Avner Ben-Ner (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnes)
Ainhoa Urtasun (Department of Management, Public University of Nav)
Bledi Taska (Burning Glass Technologies)

Abstract: Additive manufacturing is poised to transform production of many parts and finished goods. Little is known about its effects on work. The paper provides the first analysis of differences in tasks and skills of core production employees – engineers, technicians and operators – in additive manufacturing (AM) and traditional manufacturing (TM). In order to control for unobservable heterogeneity that may affect tasks and skill requirements, we focus on hybrid AM-TM manufacturing establishments (plants). We study 1,304 US plants that posted jobs for both AM and TM core workers during between January 2014 and February 2019. We find that, for the three occupations, AM vacancy postings reflect considerably more complex tasks, slightly more interdependent tasks and require more cognitive, social and technical skills than TM postings.

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