Modern-Day Manufacturing: 4 Tips To Attract The 21st Century Workforce 

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Whether we admit it or not, the global workforce is changing for good. As of 2021, the millennial generation, which the U.S. Census Bureau determines as anyone born between 1981-1996, has overtaken baby boomers to be the biggest generation of the world population.

Research from the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute suggests that the US public ranks manufacturing as vital to the domestic economy. However, only 30% of the interviewees said they would encourage their children to pursue jobs in the manufacturing industry. Also, millennials currently rank the manufacturing industry as their least preferred career choice. Understandably, with these evolving millennial workforce trends, the manufacturing industry faces its biggest challenge so far—how to update its public perception and effectively attract the emerging millennial workforce.

The timing couldn’t be worse for the manufacturing sector. Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute recently launched a study showing that almost 3.5 million manufacturing positions will likely need to be filled in the U.S. over the next decade. With the working-age population shrinking and baby boomers being on the brink of retirement, the pool of young millennial talent needed to fill these positions is sparse. In other words, it’s a supply and demand problem that has created a “war” for millennial talent among the manufacturing industries. 

What can manufacturers do to resolve this problem and attract the 21st-century workforce to join their team? How do “baby boomer” owners and “Gen X” managers meet the future by appealing to millennials and developing a corporate culture that welcomes their generation? Here’s a list of four tips to attract the 21st-century workforce for successful careers in manufacturing.

Owners And Managers Need To Highlight The Advanced Technologies That Drive Modern-Day Manufacturing 

It’s common knowledge that millennials are a tech-smart generation that grew up and currently functions as digital natives. Generating a buzz and awareness around the up-to-date technologies and innovation that manufacturing relies on provides owners and executives of manufacturing companies a genuine opportunity to compete with the appeal of Silicon Valley jobs. 

It doesn’t matter if your line of work utilizes the latest CNC machining technology to manufacture CNC parts, or you’re into the rapid prototyping and manufacturing sector; make sure that you highlight the sophisticated technologies that drive your manufacturing operation and play a big part in your plans. 

These technologies usually include machine learning, AR and VR devices, advanced robotics, and whatnot. By bringing technology to the forefront, you can actively change the inaccurate perception of a dirty and outdated workplace.

Re-Evaluate Your Recruiting Strategies And Efforts

As a proactive owner, take a closer look at the job postings your company posts. Make sure that they are vocal about debunking the myths of manufacturing conditions because these unwanted perceptions are pretty harmful to the industry and are stopping many qualified people who’re part of the millennial generation from applying. 

Re-evaluate your recruiting efforts and strategies and include and use language that demonstrates an evolving career with a lot of room for personal and professional growth. Millennials often cite the importance of healthy work-life balance as a top factor when evaluating job positions, so make sure to include it in yours.

Career Development Opportunities Are Essential To Millennials

Ensure that your recruitment and training strategies and efforts don’t imply a static working position with little room for growth. Millennials are in the process of kickstarting their careers, and most of them are in no way interested in dead-end jobs.

Millennials are incredibly ambitious in their desire for career growth, making sure that you offer advancement opportunities or create a growing career roadmap for your new employees. In brief, the more opportunities for growing your company provides, the easier it becomes to recruit a millennial workforce.

Implement A Co-Mentoring Program And Provide Opportunities For Learning 

Millennials are open to co-mentoring programs, so you should strongly consider the possibility to offer such as a part of your employment package. This means that you’ll have an older generation employee help the millennial member understand the organization’s processes and work culture. In contrast, the younger employee helps their older counterparts better manage technology, tools, and systems at work. The co-mentoring program can help improve communication and training for all ages of your workforce.

Also, millennials are always interested in developing their skills in their jobs even further. Invest in programs like internships, apprenticeships, and certification programs to start recruitment and establish your future employees early in their careers.

In Conclusion 

As the millennials’ presence in the manufacturing environment is continuously growing, it has been challenging for manufacturing owners to acclimate the unique working style and recruitment efforts they desire. 

For the best chance of successfully attracting 21st-century employees to your thriving organization, follow our four tips and secure the best talent in your area.

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JR Dominguez

JR Dominguez

JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.

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