The skills gap is a well-known, widespread dilemma across the manufacturing industry. Now that the gap is a mainstream problem, what are the steps industry leaders can take to solve it?
The next generation can fill the 2.7 million or so manufacturing jobs that will be vacated by retirees within the next ten years, as well as the extra 700,000 positions created to meet the needs of a growing industry.
The first step to attracting a millennial to work at your manufacturing company is to think like a millennial. Ask yourself, “what would your ideal work environment be?” Naturally, millennials and younger generations have a very different interpretation of the “ideal work environment” than older generations. We had a chance to host several local students whose interpretations of the manufacturing industry were less than enthusiastic, but as they learned from our experienced designers and engineers, manufacturing can be an incredibly rewarding career path.
Update Your Business Technology
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with computers and mobile devices, which means they are accustomed to having digital access anywhere, including the workplace. It is recommended that manufacturers upgrade their mobile technology in the office and on the shop floor to attract and retain millennials that value flexibility.
Through upgraded technology, your manufacturing facility will increase in efficiency and automation. The results save time and money. Another benefit is that your business will be on top of its game as the industry adopts the latest technology trends.
Provide Attractive Benefits
Although millennials have a reputation as doing more job-hopping than past generations, a recent Business News Daily article indicates otherwise, saying millennials are looking for long-lasting stability. We can attract the next generation by offering a 401(k) plan with employer-matched contributions, ample health coverage, and adequate vacation leave. A new and highly coveted benefit is in assisting in student-loan repayment.
Additional benefits important to millennials include the chance to take on more challenging workloads and opportunities for career advancement. An example would be in supporting an employee who wants to transfer to another department that better suits their needs. Also, arrange for younger employees that seek support to receive regular constructive feedback on job performance. These options allow employees to develop long-term, valuable career skills.
Create a Quality Workplace
By considering technology and benefit adjustments when recruiting, manufacturers can attract and retain millennial talent. Small tweaks in our work environments are steps we can take to help mend the skills gap and other challenges facing our industry.
Astro Machine Works and Bridging the Skills Gap
At our company, we have already taken on several initiatives to inspire the next generation. We offer sponsorship programs, internship programs, and mentorship programs, each of which contributes to bridging the skills gap.
Here’s what they entail:
1. Astro Machine Works’ Future Machinist Sponsorship Program – this program is a co-operative program with Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. We sponsor anywhere from one to three first-year Machine Tool Technology Students. They work at our facility over breaks and throughout the summer. Each is placed on a team with a mentor as a way for them to get true on-the-job experience. After they graduate from the program at Stevens, they may be hired on at Astro full time. We love having graduates choose our company because they know and trust our work values, skills, goals, and function.
2. Internship Programs – we also participate in internship programs where college students (at Stevens or other colleges and institutes) can work and get credit towards their degree. This can be either over the summer, during the school year, or both.
3. Astro Machine Works’ Mentorship Program – as a part of our on-boarding process, all new employees participate in a mentorship program. When someone is hired, we pair them with a mentor who will stay with them throughout training and as they become acclimated to the company.
Our culture also plays a big role in attracting millennials. We have a family-friendly company that offers a work/life balance. We care about the quality of work and the quality of life for all of our team members. At Astro, we offer a flextime schedule where team members can start their day within a two-hour time frame. This helps with those who function better starting and ending later, and is especially opportune for employees with young children and childcare needs. We also place a huge emphasis on community outreach, a characteristic that many millennials are currently seeking as they apply to various companies.
A Word from an Industry Expert
Manufacturing is an essential part of the American economy. “Every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates 250 jobs in other sectors.” Yet, it is estimated that two million jobs have the potential to go unfulfilled over the next ten years if we don’t close the skills gap. That’s why the federal government is investing in manufacturing apprenticeship programs.
Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of Thomas, the leading industrial discovery platform for suppliers and buyers, speaks with Cheddar TV to discuss the new program and how apprenticeship programs can help revive the manufacturing Industry. Tony also explains what manufacturers can do to help close the skills gap.
Our team continually supports initiatives that bridge the skills gap and promote STEM education to spur industry growth.
Or, if you’re interested in one of our many manufacturing services, please contact us today.
Astro Machine Works provides quality custom machinery and precision parts. From CNC machining, and reverse engineering, to machine repair, rebuilds, and refurbishments, our services span many industries, including medical, general manufacturing, aerospace, and electronics.