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3 Ways to Attract Millennials to Manufacturing

Across manufacturing, the debate on automation and robots replacing humans in the workforce continues – but what about the need to replace humans with humans?

By ·
By ·

Across manufacturing, the debate on automation and robots replacing humans in the workforce continues – but what about the need to replace humans with humans?

The entire industry is facing a worker shortage with the rapid pace of baby boomer retirements.  According to a Deloitte report, by 2025 current manufacturing workers will vacate 2.7 million jobs. And, even with the progress in technology, most of these jobs can only be done by people – strategic planning, building partner supply chains, determining and negotiating best source materials, and more.

To continue moving forward, we must attract younger workers, Millennials, to every phase of our industry from idea to design to technology to assembly and distribution. We know how exciting and exhilarating our industry can be – but being a traditional industry we images of attendance time-clocks, old-fashioned break-rooms and pocket-protector-wearing staff. How can we attract this cutting-edge generation?


Below are the 3 ways to reach Millennials and get them enthused about the industry:


  1. Embrace mobile connectivity. Millennials came to the workforce in the age of the app.  They don’t have a context for careers without speed and immediacy of the Internet and using mobile devices. For workers in this group, having to go from the production floor or warehouse to an upstairs office in order to send an email or input assembly data just doesn’t make sense. Companies need to make mobile connectivity a priority. That means investing in rugged devices, whether tablets or smartphones, as well as in their IT infrastructure and training on social platforms to receive alerts and share info across the supply chain. For finding top talent, ensure your website is mobile-responsive and job applications are mobile-accessible.  Incorporate apprenticeships and/or paid internships.  No one can come work for you if they don’t know that you’re there so get visible and accessible.

  2. Create multiple apprenticeship programs that offer paid training and advancements. Work with local colleges and university to develop paid or credit-earning internship programs to reach Generation Z who are coming up right behind Millennials. These company positions should allow for learning, training and working across many departments to give these employees the chance to “fall in love” with your manufacturing and/or supply chain operation.  Additionally, include a peek into the business side by arranging for time spent in marketing, strategic planning, mergers & acquisition process, and B2B sales outreach.
  3.  
  4. Invest in our image. Re-branding across the industry is essential to generate excitement for careers in supply chain and manufacturing. Instead of showing off production assembly lines – let’s start communicating how what we do is essential to what is being used by Millennials.

At that same time, we need to be louder about sharing steps in the design process and the exhilaration that takes place when an idea moves from our minds and whiteboard to a product on a shelf or inside of the latest technology. The reality of manufacturing and supply chain operations is that there are more people writing code and running complex robots than manually handling parts. These high-tech jobs are well-paying, offer great advancement opportunities, and these positions are held in high esteem.


Editor’s Note: Mark Dohnalek is President & CEO of Pivot International, the Kansas-based global product development, engineering & manufacturing firm.


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