Here’s today’s question… what are you doing to recruit Millennials to manufacturing?
It is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry, which is already looking at a severe shortage of skilled workers, that will get worse in the next seven to 10 years.
But is enough being done by the sector or individual companies to make sure that manufacturing and engineering has that appeal for this next generation of workers.
One of the UK’s major cities – Bradford – is acutely aware that there is an issue so the city’s Chamber of Commerce along with some major names have announced it will hold Bradford Manufacturing Week in October.
This is a positive move to showcase the opportunities that manufacturing and engineering offer and should be something that more of our major manufacturing towns and cities are doing.
This week-long event will reach more than 20,000 teenagers (Generation Z in this case) and aims to bring to life the sector and promote the apprenticeships on offer.
The week is the brainchild of Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber and MD of international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, who succinctly summed up what it aims to achieve.
He told the Bradford Argus: “We want to encourage manufacturers to consider apprenticeships to future-proof their workforce and for young people to consider apprenticeships as an alternative route to a skilled and rewarding career.”
I am aware that there is the National Apprenticeship Week annually in March, but this doesn’t focus solely on the needs and opportunities in manufacturing, so there is a definitely a need for more industry-orientated ‘weeks’ to educate the future workforce about manufacturing.
However, it also needs businesses to take a hard look at themselves, their culture and their recruitment process and consider if they are you doing all they can to make themselves enticing to the new breed of workforce?
Millennials and Gen Z have a different outlook to those of us from Generation X and Y. US-based software company Workwise, summed it up thus:
“Millennials have been taught throughout their lives to regard manufacturing jobs as second-rate compared to jobs that require a degree.
“Another issue is that many manufacturers have no real system in place to attract talent to their companies.
“Lastly, many manufacturers have failed to innovate their companies through technology. Manufacturing needs to work to change this perception and must use technological advancements to bring fresh talent the industry.”
Their major solution (which tied in nicely to them being a software developer) was to allow Millennials to use their smartphone as very much part of their daily working life – from clocking on to filing reports and much more beside to improve productivity. Given Millennials and their mobile phones are ‘surgically attached’ it has to be worth considering where this is feasible.
Finally, I also found a great infographic, with 25 key points for manufacturers to attract Millennials. It’s definitely worth five minutes of your time if you are serious about getting ahead of the game and bringing in young talent.