Assembly professionals are working harder than ever, but they’re travelling less. Almost one-half (49 percent) of ASSEMBLY’s 2011 State of the Profession survey respondents claim they do less work-related travel today vs. five years ago. One reason for that is the widespread proliferation of computer technology.

State of the Profession

For instance, 38 percent of assemblers have used webinars to learn about new technologies, processes, developments and standards. Only 29 percent have attended traditional technical conferences, seminars or workshops.

Assemblers are also using more social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to stay connected with their peers. Indeed, More than one-third (37 percent) of respondents claim that they’ve used a social media Web site for business or professional purposes during the past 12 months.

That’s an 11 percentage point increase over 2010. LinkedIn is the most popular social media site, with 88 percent of assemblers having accessed the site vs. 35 percent for Facebook.

Social media sites are more likely to be used by design engineers than manufacturing engineers. For instance, 57 percent of design engineers claim that they have used Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or another site during the last 12 months vs. 30 percent of manufacturing engineers.

Social media is most popular with people who work in the machinery manufacturing industry (52 percent), followed by electrical equipment and appliance manufacturers (44 percent) and transportation equipment manufacturers (44 percent). Respondents in the fabricated metal products industry (26 percent) were less likely to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or another site.

Age makes a huge difference is the use of social media. Assemblers less than 50 years old (45 percent) are more likely to Tweet than their peers who are more than 50 years old (33 percent).

Overall, 29 percent of assembly professionals claim they access social media sites on a daily basis, which is a 9 percentage point increase over 2010. More than one-third (42 percent) of respondents click on sites at least once a week, while 29 percent do it on a monthly basis.