Tag Archives: Manufacturing Workforce


One of the most significant threats facing the manufacturing industry is the ongoing labor shortage and how it’s impacting organizations across the nation.

Identifying viable solutions to overcome a labor shortage in any industry is challenging. However, the past few years have made it especially difficult for manufacturers to find skilled employees. The COVID-19 pandemic and The Great Resignation are two major factors that have negatively impacted the manufacturing industry.

How can manufacturers overcome The Great Resignation and attract young talent? Below, learn more about the labor shortage in manufacturing and how organizations can overcome this unprecedented workforce situation.

Understanding the Manufacturing Workforce

The manufacturing labor shortage is not new. In fact, manufacturers have dealt with the shortage for quite some time. Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have gone unfilled for years now, with several factors in recent years exacerbating the issue.

Alongside the pandemic, millions of Americans have quit their jobs recently, coining a new term: “The Great Resignation.” Employees are quitting their jobs for various reasons. Pew Research cites three, including low wages, feeling disrespected, and a lack of opportunities to advance.

On top of the pandemic and The Great Resignation, data shows that the labor shortage in manufacturing will likely persist. According to research from Deloitte, manufacturers in the U.S. are expected to have over 2 million unfilled jobs by 2030.

Millennials and Gen Z tend to have misconceptions about working in modern manufacturing. There’s a false impression that working in manufacturing means getting your hands dirty and performing rigorous manual labor for hours on end.

Those misconceptions, however, are far from reality. Employees in these roles often require specialized skills, knowledge, or training and work with cutting-edge technologies daily. Younger generations are digital natives, meaning they can learn how to use new technologies with ease. How can manufacturers make roles seem more attractive to young candidates?

How Manufacturers Should Target Younger Generations

Below are ways manufacturers can make manufacturing roles more attractive to garner newer, younger workers.

1. Leverage Social Media Marketing

Young people dominate social media platforms, whether Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or Twitter. While older adults also use social media, Millennials and Gen Z grew up with it, so it’s a major part of their daily lives.

Manufacturers should leverage their presence on social media platforms to reach younger audiences and improve their recruiting. Sites like LinkedIn or other digital job boards can also be useful for manufacturers looking to garner young talent.

Additionally, it’s reported that 70% of manufacturing job seekers prefer receiving text messages over emails or phone calls for recruiting purposes. Consider reaching out to candidates through social media or texting.

2. Emphasize New Technologies During Recruitment

Manufacturers that adopt the latest technologies should highlight their tech-savviness to potential candidates. Organizations should try to use their tech adoption as a unique selling point (USP) when recruiting – companies at the forefront of innovation will often be more attractive to candidates than those falling behind.

As mentioned earlier, Zoomers (another moniker for Gen Z) are digital natives. They can easily learn how to work with new tech. Zoomers will be likely to pick up new skills needed in the manufacturing industry.

3. Identify Potential Hybrid Roles

The significant shift to remote work has prompted many companies to adopt remote-first or hybrid-work models. By next year, it’s expected that 40% of organizations will transition to “Anywhere Operations” – a term that describes a digital, distributed workforce.

While many manufacturing companies have unfilled jobs that must be performed on site, they should consider identifying which roles could become hybrid. Other processes within manufacturing can be automated and allow employees to work remotely. If companies find a way to implement a hybrid model, they could appear more flexible and attractive to potential candidates.

4. Connect With Local Schools and Colleges

Professionals in manufacturing understand that young talent may not realize what a manufacturing role entails. By connecting with local educational institutions, these companies can work with students and educate them about manufacturing.

Miller Fabrication Solutions, a manufacturer in Pennsylvania, began visiting schools, adding representatives to industry-related advisory councils, and sponsoring robotics competitions in the community to appeal to young talent. Other manufacturers should follow suit and be more aggressive in their recruiting strategies.

5. Meet (or Exceed) Young Employee Expectations

According to Gallup, Millennials and Zoomers expect three important things from an employer:

For example, striking a work-life balance, feeling recognized and respected for their individuality, and working for an ethical leader are all important factors employers should know. Meeting these expectations will help with employee engagement and retention, especially regarding young employees.

Building a Workforce for the Future

The pandemic, The Great Resignation, and the persistent labor shortages in manufacturing require organizations to find innovative ways to improve their recruiting, hiring, and retention efforts – especially when finding young talent in the field. Companies need to overcome these challenges and find young talent to replace employees retiring from the workforce for the manufacturing industry to thrive.

*This article is written by Devin Partida. Devin is a tech writer with an interest in IIoT and manufacturing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.

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