A recent Industry Market Barometer report from ThomasNet, a New York-based product sourcing and supplier discovery platform, shows that 38 percent of the survey’s 500 manufacturing respondents plan to retire within 10 years, with 7 out of 10 having no succession plan.
There is a ready source of talent to replace them—the Millennials—who are projected to become America’s largest living generation this year, but they represent no more than 25 percent of the workforce at most manufacturing companies. Furthermore, eight out of 10 manufacturers have no explicit plans to increase these numbers.
Adding to the challenge is that 46 percent of survey respondents said younger people still perceive manufacturing as “blue collar” work, and another 43 percent believe this generation lacks the work ethic and discipline to succeed.
Tracy Tenpenny, a partner at Menomonee Falls-based Tailored Label Products Inc., said attracting Millennial (age 18-32) workers to the industry is critical for maintaining progress.
Through Tailored Label Products’ Millennial outreach efforts, its workforce is now made up of about 50 percent Millennials. The label manufacturer dubs its efforts the “Ten Commandments for Attracting and Retaining Millennials,” a list that includes:
• Cross-training employees in three job skills/functions to give them more reasons to stay and grow.
• Continually investing in manufacturing technology to stimulate employees. Also embrace cloud computing and social media platforms that fit in with Millennials’ work and communications styles, from Google Docs to Twitter.
• Offering progressive benefits such as wellness programs using FitBit and promoting fellowship through fun events/contests at work.
“It will take the concerted effort of every manufacturer to reach across generational lines and bring this group into their business. By embracing Millennials, we can build an exciting future for us all,” Tenpenny said.
Read more about Tailored Label’s Millennial outreach efforts in a recent BizTimes Milwaukee article.
Published March 09, 2015 by by BizTimes.com
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