The manufacturing skills gap is unfortunately an ongoing, widespread dilemma across the industry, with industry leaders always trying to come up with recruitment efforts and innovative steps to try and solve it.
One of the biggest threats to the manufacturing industry remains the decrease in skilled labour. Through outreach programmes, education and event efforts, manufacturers can present a more millennial-friendly image.
The millennial generation can fill the 2.7 million or so manufacturing jobs that will be vacated by retirees within the next ten years, so how can businesses attract a pool of creative, technology driven millennials who can thrive in a manufacturing environment?
Where a millennial workforce is concerned, work/life balance is key, and flexibility and working remotely are now possible and should be explored.
The first step to attracting a millennial to work at your company is to think like a millennial, and think about what your ideal work environment would be. Companies that are popular with millennial workers have things like flex time, casual wear and workout rooms.
Millennials want more than money, they want to understand how what they are doing fits into the bigger picture, and makes a difference. They expect companies to care about the environment, have sustainable business practices and operate ethically. Most importantly, they have high standards for how they expect to be treated by employers.
Millennials don’t just use technology, they grew up with their entire worlds integrated with technology, and it is already a huge part of their lives. Millennials are accustomed to having digital access anywhere, including the workplace.
Raised in the digital age with rapidly advancing technology, millennials expect a work environment to be on the forefront of innovation. Many modern manufacturers have work cultures that are just as innovative and high-tech as companies like Google and Apple.
In modern-day manufacturing, many manual jobs have been replaced with automated machine learning and an understanding of these features often requires an advanced knowledge of technology, which a millennial is likely to be able to grasp.
Manufacturing organisations can upgrade their mobile technology, which will attract and retain millennials while ensuring the business stays in line with competition and stays at the top of its game with the latest trends.
To close the talent gap, manufacturers need to develop strong training programmes that cultivate talent from the ground up. This calls for more partnerships with universities and colleges, and introducing robust systems to train on the job.
Businesses can participate in apprenticeship programmes where students can work and gain qualifications at the time. Investing in these opportunities to educate the next generation of engineers targets millennials directly.
Graduate schemes provide structured training run by the employer to develop future managers within the organisation. Graduate schemes really help to develop the right skills needed for modern manufacturing businesses.
When someone is hired, you can pair them with a mentor who will stay with them throughout training and as they become acclimated to the company. Offering fluidity to move up the ladder, or experience different departments, could be key drivers in retention.
David Lewis, managing director, integra people, warrington