Stereotypes exist for a reason but sometimes they can be comical. For years, depictions of millennials suggest nearly all are either working in Silicon Valley, or trying to get there, or living with their parents drowned in student loan debt. Both extremes actually illustrate the need for more economic opportunities for this, a larger generation than even the Baby Boomers.
For the advanced manufacturing industry, attracting millennials is a challenge but it makes sense. Here are some of the ways those barriers can be broken to make sure the industry — and this restless generations’ futures are both solvent.
1) Talk up new technology. Millennials never lived in a world without omnipresent computers, Internet and smartphones. So speak to these digital natives in their language. Advanced manufacturers should not be afraid to promote things like robotics, 3-D printing and inventive software. All are an appeal, not a deterrent to this tech-savvy group.
2) Reimagine manufacturing’s stereotype. Millennials can be forgiven for thinking about dirty and dangerous assembly lines when they contemplate manufacturing. Truth is, that has largely gone by the wayside as safety protocols, automation and innovation has literally changed the face of the industry. Millennials need to fully understand that advanced manufacturing is equipped to challenge them as much mentally as it challenged their grandparents physically.
3) Develop school partnerships and offer internships. Students today are introduced to career decisions at an ever-earlier age. So it makes sense to offer programs that bring young people into advanced manufacturing environments. Internships are also a perfect way to break down negative perceptions and offer key insights into the industry.
4) Recruit with social media. For advanced manufacturing to be truly relevant with millennials it has to meet them where they are. Of course that means a more active presence online, particularly with social media.
Millennials will soon make up the majority of the nation’s workforce. Since they all can’t work in Silicon Valley, or stay with their parents, advanced manufacturers would do well to make an active push to lure them there way.