By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of Millennials and Generation Z. Although many manufacturers are already dealing with a labor shortage, the situation could become even more difficult in the future as younger generations continue to choose colleges over the trades and older generations start retiring. Manufacturers must take proactive steps now to educate, recruit and train young workers. In this blog, we’ll list three ways to reach and connect with young workers to ensure that your business can succeed in the years to come.
You can’t assume that these up-and-coming workers understand how technical the manufacturing landscape has become. There are still misconceptions that manufacturing is made up of dirty facilities, back-breaking physical work and an overall less rewarding future than you’d get in an office environment. These stereotypes will continue to be hard to overcome, but the effort must be made in the current job market where there is a limited supply of skilled workers.
One of the most important points to highlight is the level of innovation at most modern manufacturing plants. While your company may still use traditional production equipment, highlighting the new processes and technology is an excellent way to show this. These candidates have grown up working with technology, so it may be something they’re interested in and could see themselves doing.
By having younger generations using their natural skills sets in combination with the older generations experience and knowledge, the business can operate more efficiently.
One method to get this picture across is to offer plant tours, not only to job seekers but also students through partnerships with local high schools and colleges. Being involved in community events and serving as an ambassador for your industry are crucial public relation efforts that can generate interest and demonstrate how growth-focused and forward-thinking manufacturing can be.
With younger workers just starting their careers, one of their main goals will be finding a company and industry where they can develop their skills and work their way up. An excellent way to get them interested is through internships or apprenticeships. Not only will you be giving students on-the-job training in a real-world environment, but you are actively grooming the next generation of employees. You will have the chance to develop a working relationship with them and, if all goes well, end up with a full-time employee that knows your business.
Another way to show the growth potential at your company would be offering training and certification opportunities. This won’t only improve employee engagement but will benefit your business by giving your company new ideas to help it grow, succeed and stay relevant in a changing world.
Lastly, you should make sure it is clear that leadership opportunities exist for your manufacturing positions. Too often, there is a disconnect between the decisions made by management and the work done on the floor. By integrating those two areas, younger workers will be more likely to find manufacturing jobs attractive, knowing the positions have the potential to turn into larger roles with decision making responsibility.
With the cost of education continuing to rise, manufacturers should emphasize the return on investment that young workers can get if they choose to enter manufacturing.
Many times, you can earn more starting off in manufacturing and skilled trades than someone who receives college degree. After gaining additional experience and developing management skills, it’s not uncommon for those in the trades to reach six-figure salaries while paying only a fraction of the cost on their education compared to those who went for office jobs. In addition, vocational school can be finished within one to two years, which allows for two to three more years of earning income.
To reach these students, your company should attend career fairs at high schools and colleges to educate students about the types of opportunities offered and the financial upside that comes with working in manufacturing and the skilled trades.
The skilled labor shortage is a problem for the manufacturers, but it also represents a tremendous opportunity for both the companies and individuals that are willing to put in the work. By removing the negative stereotypes associated with manufacturing, companies will get more young workers to realize these jobs offer rewarding careers that pay well and allow individuals to make meaningful contributions every day.
Looking for skilled workers? Contact us and we can help fill your open positions!