Hiring Tech-minded Millennials: Are you on board?

Posted by IMEC on Sep 14, 2021 3:35:18 PM

man using ipad robot arm automation

How important is it to bring Millennials into your workforce? Let’s put it this way: Like an unstoppable speeding train, the future is coming up fast. Couple that with the fact that the future belongs to those who adapt advanced manufacturing technologies. Will yours be the company running to catch the train after it has left the station?

Automation is the future of manufacturing. No longer is it a question of if automation will be integrated into processes...but when. The question then becomes, who “owns” automation? Who embraces its technology? Is not intimidated by it? Understands it? Who would best be equipped to jump up on that fast-moving train and help transport your company straight into the future?  

Bingo: Millennials.  

You know them. They’re the ones who’ve been born between 1981 to 1996 – the ones who from the age of 5, have been teaching parents and grandparents how to operate their computers and cell phones. Pick a digital device – any device – and a Millennial will take to it like a dolphin to water; they will play with it and get joy out of it. Relish and conquer any challenge it presents. It’s second nature to them. 

Considering technology is the very thing that Millennials love and that manufacturers need – doesn’t it make sense to marry the two? Given the right information and incentives, you might be surprised at how many Millennials would be excited to help you devise Industry 4.0 solutions – Big Data-driven solutions that can increase machinery efficiency exponentially. Hence, increased productivity and a boost to your bottom line. All through implementing automation.  

So, what’s stopping Millennials from considering Manufacturing as a career choice?

Dispelling Manufacturing Myths                              

Consider this: Millennials make up the largest population segment in the U.S., overtaking the Boomers. By 2025, they will make up 75% of the workforce in global industries. Yet only 25% work in manufacturing. A recent survey by Deloitte Consulting revealed that only 1 out of 3 parents said they would want their kids to pursue a manufacturing career. This is alarming, considering that 9 out of 10 Americans believe manufacturing is critical to the U.S. being the economic juggernaut that it is.

Apparently, manufacturing seems to still bear the reputation of “the 3 D’s” – being Dull,

Dirty, and Dangerous. But that is so Industry 1.0! Today, manufacturing has morphed into one of the most innovative, technologically advanced industries on the planet. If only we could get that word out to Millennials!

Fortunately, Jake Hall, AKA the Manufacturing Millennial and host of the "FILL THE GAP: How Automation and Millennials Will Change Manufacturing” Webinar has already gotten that ball rolling. In 2019, Jake launched a social media campaign where he generated conversations amongst Millennials about manufacturing and automation. In one year, he’s gained 5M views and on LinkedIn, has 20,000 followers. An astronomical amount for the Manufacturing Industry. Point being, the interest is out there. So how do you become one of the messengers who will entice them into working for you...and make a life-long, rewarding career of it?

What’s in it for you: How Millennials can help drive your business

For Millennials, the challenge of integrating automation into your processes would practically be a no-brainer. It would be fun coming up with automated ways to:  

  • ramp up changeover speeds
  • dramatically shrink downtimes
  • skyrocket efficiencies
  • detect machinery deficiencies
  • make wiser use of employees’ time, freeing them up to tackle tasks more suited to their skillsets
  • train employees in more time/money-saving ways
  • and so much more

Millennials can help get you there.  

But the best part is, there is an eagerness among them to work with your veteran employees. To exchange knowledge. Ideas. Inspire each other. To learn from them. And together, arrive at the best solutions to keep your company moving on the express track into tomorrow.

It’s a two-way track: How to help Millennials land not just a job, but a stable, stimulating career

First, it’s important to be aware of what Millennials want. It’s not just about a paycheck. It’s about having a purpose. They want to make an impact. Be offered long-term opportunities to develop and grow. They want their passion for technology to translate into contributions that will make positive changes for a company. They want stability. And like anyone else, they want to be recognized.

You can address this “career wish list” in an interview and communicate how your company would check each box. Equally important, is to impress upon them how manufacturing isn’t the manual, “dark, dirty, and dangerous” industry of days of yore. Today it’s clean, high-tech, fast paced, and even glamorous. It’s imperative to match their passion for technology by expressing your passion for manufacturing — and for your company to head full throttle into this 21st century Industrial Revolution.

Finding candidates: Where to begin

Here’s the “clean” little secret: While Graduates of 4-year STEM universities tend to have a plan, they are often faced with $30K+ in debt. However, local community colleges and trade schools attract high-school graduates who don’t want to be saddled with debt, but are still bent on learning and getting hands-on experience in the field of manufacturing. Manufacturers get involved with many of these local schools, which are equipped with state-of-the-art automation and robotic stations. These schools are gold mines for recruiting potential employees.

Why not offer an apprenticeship or a summer co-op program, where students can work within your company, earn money and get real-world experience in manufacturing? Odds are they’ll be thrilled to share (and get paid for) their enthusiasm for automation, be stimulated knowing that their ideas may actually be put into use – and at the same time, work alongside and learn about the industry from seasoned employees who will share their own depth of manufacturing knowledge.

By the end of the program, there will be a mutual comfort and understanding developed between the student and your company. Upon earning their Associate’s Degree or Certificate, you’ll be able to offer them a position with the confidence that they’ll be a productive, proven asset to your company. On the flip side, having experienced your company from the inside-out, they’ll be confident they can do the job and look forward to advancing within a company that has shown to have their career goals and well-being in mind.

Millennials and Manufacturing. It’s a symbiotic relationship that has everyone winning. Come jump on the Millennial super train and get rolling into the future, full speed ahead. IMEC can help get in touch with an expert today!

Get ideas to adapt and integrate Industry 4.0 solutions like digital tools to attract the next generation and workforce. Watch the recording of the FILL THE GAP: How Automation and Millennials Will Change Manufacturing Webinar.


Written by IMEC

Topics: automation, made in il, manufacturing, workforce, workforce development, Industry 4.0, talent acquisition, advance manufacturing technology

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