The manufacturing industry is facing a generational gap issue, especially among the youth of the so-called “Generation Y.” In fact, by the year 2025, approximately 75% of the workforce will be from that generation. As older generations in the industry begin to retire from their manufacturing jobs, there are very few in younger generations who are either qualified or willing to apply for those manufacturing jobs to replace these retirees. This will have a negative effect on the industry in the years to come.
Fortunately, there are young students who are working on their proper education for these future jobs, however, the vast majority of them haven’t finished school yet. This leaves a large gap between people who are leaving the manufacturing sector and new talent people who aren’t yet ready to enter the workforce.
The main reason younger generations aren’t applying for these positions is because of negative stereotypes that surround the manufacturing industry. According to ThomasNet.com’s 2013 Industry Market Barometer survey of over 1,200 manufacturing companies, 7 out of 10 companies feel that manufacturing careers have a negative public perception, especially with younger generations.
However, as we move quickly towards a technology-based world, manufacturers see these new technologies as opportunities for growth. Eight out of 10 companies plan to use new technology to increase production in the upcoming year. Since the current generation is being raised in a world driven by technology, this will help attract more people in that age group into taking on these open manufacturing positions.
Besides utilizing technology, another way to improve the manufacturing job market is to give younger generations a deeper understanding of the manufacturing industry itself. By raising awareness about what they do, manufacturers can begin to distance the industry from any negative connotations that people may have. Manufacturers can do this by partnering with job recruiting agencies, creating education tools and factory tours for elementary and middle schools or providing internship programs for high school or college students.
Another option to consider is to re-brand the manufacturing market to make it more innovative and up to date for current and future generations. By making efforts like these, manufacturers will begin to bridge the gap between generations and get more people excited about manufacturing.