But this generation has different perceptions of work, manufacturing, and digital transformation. As manufacturers rush to fill the 2 million jobs expected to go unfilled in the next decade, this skills gap provides an opportunity to recruit and train the next generation to become the future face of the manufacturing workforce.
The perception of manufacturing might be the biggest problem facing the industry to date. It’s not a lack of qualified people, it’s getting those qualified candidates to apply in the first place.
In a recent study, millennials (ages 19-33) ranked manufacturing as their least preferred career destination. Because of an outdated perception, this new workforce is reluctant to fill good positions in the industry.
Unfortunately, the old views of manufacturing aren’t particularly glamorous. Facilities in past generations were often dirty, smoke-filled, and potentially dangerous environments. While the industry is much more high tech these days, most people still conjure up images of greasy steelworkers and coal miners when they think of the manufacturing industry as a whole.
In reality, most modern manufacturing jobs are for skilled production workers in roles such as technicians, data analysts, operators, or machinists. The fastest growing jobs in the industry continue to be process control, programming, and maintenance of sophisticated machinery. It’s on manufacturers to actively change these outdated perceptions of the industry in order to attract more qualified candidates.