Smart Workforce Conference reveals the job requirements essential for 4th Industrial Revolution

Dec. 12, 2022
The Smart Factory Institute also releases findings in ‘New Collar’ Worker Job Requirements report.

The Smart Factory Institute of Tennessee hosted The Smart Factory Workforce Conference earlier this month at their manufacturing collaborative-community space within the Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Innovation Center in Cleveland, Tenn. The conference welcomed leading manufacturers and professional workforce organizations to discuss the transformational impacts of Industry 4.0 advancements as they relate to changes in the manufacturing workforce.

During the conference, the Smart Factory Institute presented findings from its newly commissioned report, The “New Collar” Worker Job Requirements, researched and written by UC Foundation Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) Dr. Chris Cunningham, and Scott Meyers, graduate research scientist at UTC’s industrial-organizational psychology master’s-degree program.

Through an intensive data-driven process, The “New Collar” Worker Job Requirements report unveils 60 critical knowledge, skill, ability and other (KSAO) characteristics workers will need to succeed as the “smart workers” in future Industry 4.0 manufacturing settings. Many of these characteristics are not currently the norm in traditional factory environments. Some include: the need for technical and interpersonal forms of knowledge; skills associated with working with others in complex environments to solve problems and move production processes forward; and higher-order knowledge and information processing skills such as operations monitoring, critical thinking, written communication, and systems analysis.

“In addition to adopting new KSAOs, many current manufacturing worker requirements are likely to persist and continue to be essential in Industry 4.0 settings,” said Dr. Cunningham. “However, the ways in which current requirements and competencies are demonstrated will change due to disruptive technologies and processes that workers will have to use and follow while working, such as Internet of Things (IoT), machine-learning, virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI).” 

The full report can be found here.