When most young people hear the world “manufacturing” they envision factories and assembly lines. They picture footage from an old episode of Sesame Street in which chocolate drops, personal electronics, or cars move down the line and are progressively embellished to a background of cheerful cartoon music. In some ways, this is indeed how things are made, and the busy workers lined up beside any inspection or assembly line do indeed form the backbone of one of the central industries that drive the economy of almost any developed country.
But during the past few decades, manufacturing centers have moved away from the central metropolitan areas located on domestic shores. And as manufacturing centers move out of our field of vision, they begin to play a most distant role in public life. As this shift occurs, young people become less inclined to consider this industry while reviewing their career options.
Domestic manufacturing no longer offers the career advancement or stable salary options that young people are looking for…or so many of them believe. But if these trends continue, hiring managers in this field will face fewer options and a narrower pool of skilled workers. So what steps can industry leaders take to turn this trend around and attract young talent? Here are a few moves to consider.
Attack the problem at the source. Support community efforts that promote interest in manufacturing as a career. Connect with local universities and find out more about what these organizations are doing to encourage students to pursue futures in operations and production. Learn more about the job fairs, recruiting events, and promotional tools that are being presented to young people in high school and college venues.
Partner with Trade and Vocational Institutions
Join forces with local vocational schools and establish mutual partnerships that help all three parties—the students, the institutions, and your own company. Provide tuition-sharing agreements, scholarships, or sponsorship programs for individual students. Play a role in curriculum development so the courses offered can provide students with the skills you need.
Invest in Industry Marketing
Be aggressive in your approach to prospective students and young employees. Invest in marketing campaigns targeting young people (via direct mail or online venues). Create buzz that demonstrates the relevance, the financial stability, and the excitement of a future in manufacturing. Don’t wait for future employees to knock on your door; Go to them first.
For more on how to build your pool of skilled and talented employees from the ground up, reach out to the staffing experts at CSS.