The Time to Attract Gen Z to Manufacturing is Now

The Time to Attract Gen Z to Manufacturing is Now

Ready or not, here they come! Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012 (or 1996 to 2010 in some models) is in the workforce and more enter every day. This generation is beginning to enter the workforce during a time of low unemployment and an confusing number of choices when it comes to career options.

The good news for manufacturers is that today’s teens and young adults have a better impression of manufacturing careers than millennials. The challenge for manufacturers looking to attract Gen Z is to keep building on the recruitment efforts begun while these workers were still in grade school.

A Good Foundation

The 2019 L2L Manufacturing Index found that Gen Z adults (ages 18-22) were 19% more likely to have someone suggest a manufacturing career option that the general population. That’s a great foundation to build on, but it is only that, a foundation. The same study showed that even though they are better exposed to manufacturing career options, only 32% of Gen Z has had a manufacturing career suggested to them.

With the bulk of Gen Z still in middle school and high school, manufacturers have the opportunity to build on successful outreach efforts and start new ones. The advantage manufacturers have today, compared to past efforts, is the potential to use current Gen Z employees to tell their story to younger members of their generation.

What Gen Z Wants

Don’t just have your Gen Z employees give generic presentations. Make sure they talk about their experience in a way that addresses some of Gen Z’s main concerns. Growing up with constant concerns over safety and financial security, make sure you and your employees talk specifically about the stability and security of a manufacturing career.

A lot has changed since the turmoil in the manufacturing sector of the 90’s and 00’s. Gen Z has a much more positive view of manufacturing than older generations, but they have not heard as much about manufacturing careers as they have about software and other tech jobs. For example, recent research by Glassdoor shows software engineer as the clear leader in terms of percent of applications by job searching members of Gen Z.

Engage Them Now

Don’t wait to talk to Gen Z after they have started looking for jobs, catch them while they are thinking about careers. For example, Triple Helix has created its own STEM education program called the Free Range Kids Initiative, that focuses on introducing students to STEM technologies and the careers paths that these create, while introducing them to local Connecticut companies.

For manufacturers, October 4, 2019 is the date for the next Manufacturing Day and is a great opportunity to tell your story. The National Association of Manufacturers and Manufacturing Institute has put together a great website and the summer is a great time to begin planning for the event. Field research conducted after past events has shown that the public outreach efforts have a major positive impact on perceptions of manufacturing. Even if you don’t host an event, think about how you might lead a tour of your factory, talking up the benefits of working there while showing how you make your products.

Triple Helix has provided data and information systems for the aerospace and manufacturing industries for the last 15 years and has been witnessing the challenges created by workforce changes. Contact us if you would like to schedule a risk-free consultation to see if Triple Helix can help your company assess its digitization opportunities.

About The Author: Jason Bittner

CEO and founder of Triple Helix Corporation, since 2004. Has worked closely within the Aerospace / Defense / Manufacturing industries for over two (2) decades, solving technical challenges with integrating data and information technologies with best business practices. Jason seeks to educate and inform his readers with the latest news about the information management space, along with insights into how best to operate our companies now and into the future.
August 21st, 2019

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