In Part 1 on our series about millennials and manufacturing, we talked about the characteristics of a millennial and how manufacturers might appeal to them to fill manufacturing jobs. In Part 2, we will discuss some technologies and marketing tips to attract millennials into manufacturing.
As a reminder, millennials include people born roughly between the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s, according to Wikipedia. According to a March, 2012 Time Magazine article written by Dan Schwabel (an expert on the millennial generation) approximately 10,000 Millennials (also called Generation Y) turn 21 every day. By 2025, three out of four people in the workforce will be from “Generation Y”.
How Can New or Advanced Technologies Attract Millennials?
Millennials didn’t grow up playing Pong or PacMan. Video games are more like movies (and seemingly more real in some cases). Millennials are attracted to innovative technologies and love to use them in a collaborative environment. Here are some examples of new technologies that would appeal to Millennials:
- Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) - Some Millennials even have these printers in their schools and homes. To see their application in the manufacturing workplace would be exciting for many in this generation. The idea of designing something and seeing a model of that design within minutes fits with the Millennial generation’s desire for immediate feedback. Creating design teams using additive manufacturing resources also appeals to their need for collaboration.
- Nanotechnology - This involves taking material down to a minute scale, making changes to its “DNA” and building it back up into a product. For example, a motor oil can be reduced to nanometer proportions (smaller than an atom) and manipulated to create better gas mileage for a car, then made back into a better motor oil. The products resulting from this technology exhibit greater wear, fire resistance, and better engine performance. The real world applications would certainly be publicized and truly excite a millennial, thereby creating great job satisfaction.
- Programs/Apps That Promote Collaboration and Communication- Program and applications such as Basecamp and Nozbe allow for easy collaboration with colleagues. It is easier than ever, thanks to advances in computer technology, to send an idea out to a group from anywhere and get instantaneous feedback (which appeals to Millennials). As a manufacturer, you can easily embrace a collaborative environment on the manufacturing floor by creating process improvement teams, and using tools such as SharePoint to share ideas, Value Stream Maps, data and project documents. The more information is shared, the more those from Generation Y will feel transparency in the environment.
This is where the rubber meets the road. You know how to attract them, and how technology can excite them, but how can you actually get Generation Y’ers to work for you ? After all, you will need the help, according to statistics!
Here are some tips for marketing your firm as a great place to work for the Millennial generation:
- Participate in Manufacturing Day 2014 - Manufacturing Day 2014 will be held on October 3, 2014. CMTC is proud to co-sponsor this event, where manufacturers will open their doors to students, parents and educators from throughout California in the hopes of improving the Millennial generation’s perception of manufacturing (and that of their parents and educators). Showcase your facility, your technologies, and your collaborative and open environment, and you will attract the attention of the next generation of manufacturing employees!
- Partner with local schools and colleges to host plant tours and speak at events - You don’t have to wait for Manufacturing Day to host smaller groups of high school and college students potentially interested in manufacturing careers. You can also speak at student organization events about new technologies you are using.
- Ask Millennials you hire to recommend friends in need of a job - Many times, the best resource for new employees is current employees that are happy with their job. Ask your current young employees to encourage their friends or classmates to apply for jobs at your company.
- Institute an internship program - Work with local high schools and colleges to offer summer internships for those in technical disciplines. This provides an opportunity for students to see the “real world” of manufacturing and allows you to see if the person is a fit for your organization. This can also be a great and inexpensive way to get projects done!
CMTC is working to promote the opportunities in manufacturing to students and educators through events like Manufacturing Day. If you are interested in participating or need help with a project that will make your organization more attractive to the next generation of workers, please contact CMTC.
Preserve the future of manufacturing by embracing the unique qualities of the Millennial generation!Written by: John Anderson, Director