Baby boomers are retiring and, according to a report published by The Manufacturing Institute, an estimated 2.7 million jobs are likely to be needed as a result. The challenge now for manufacturing organizations is to have enough workers in the pipeline who are trained and ready to step in.
Millennials, who are currently between 18 and 32 years old, now have a huge employment opportunity as organizations adopt aggressive recruitment practices to fill the skills gap. Although companies are ready to pay higher wages, they are still unable to find the right talent. This is because of the inaccurate perception of the manufacturing industry as a low paying and laborious career choice. Moreover, millennials have different sets of priorities and expectations as compared to their baby boomer predecessors. To attract millennials to the manufacturing sector, a lot has to be done to change the perception of the industry and increase investment in innovative training solutions.
Let’s examine some ways to attract millennials to the manufacturing industry:
Partner with local schools and colleges
The best time to start targeting young people is when they are still in high school by creating awareness of manufacturing as a viable career option. This can be done by hosting plant tours and speaking at events about new technologies like 3D printing and robotics.
Attend career fairs and offer in-school presentations
These are great places to spread the message and clear the misconceptions about manufacturing jobs. The task of changing perceptions must begin early and it must be persistent.
Participate in Manufacturing Day
This day presents a great opportunity for manufacturers to reach out to millennials by opening their doors and sharing the whole new world of modern manufacturing. In 2016, Manufacturing Day will take place on October 7th.
Offer internships and training programs
Work with local high schools and colleges to offer summer internships for those in technical disciplines. This provides an opportunity for students to see the “real world” of manufacturing and allows a company to see if the intern is a fit for the organization.
Foster group collaboration and hold brainstorming sessions
These workplace sessions, with a strong emphasis on the importance of communication, encourage innovative thinking and drive a healthy work environment for millennials. Striving for the inclusion of different thought processes and removing some generational biases can prove very helpful in reaching innovative business outcomes.
Start a social media campaign
Another way to reach out to potential new hires is by using digital media, which can be an effective way to reach a larger demographic. Manufacturing companies should consider advertising on professional websites for academic and job counselors. Social media campaigns targeting both the students and their parents will also help attract talent.
Additionally, manufacturers and communities must stand together to position the industry as a viable career option by improving the overall image of manufacturing. Show them that a manufacturing job can be fulfilling with good growth potential and the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Show them the truth about the modern manufacturing environment. Show them you have careers not just jobs. None of these solutions on their own will close the gap, but together, manufacturers, academia, communities, and government agencies can provide a solid foundation to mitigate the skills gap over time.
If you already have a recruitment program in place, you may find these tips useful.