If ThomasNet and the data mined by it are to be believed, the manufacturing workforce is ageing rapidly with little to no genuine interest amongst fresh blood to answer the call of production.
As per the survey results revealed three-fourth of all manufacturing employees are above the age of 45. Honda has recently come public with the acceptance that almost 50% of its work force will exit over the next few years and keeping this in mind it has initiated a branding exercise for its vacancies aimed at making them more appealing and less ‘dingy’ to the Gen Y candidates who are all set to dominate the market by 2025.
2015 IS NOT 1985:
Demographics suggest that baby boomers are standing on the precipice of retirement and generation X employees (born between 1960 and 1980) have already dedicated the better part of their careers to manufacturing. If the imminent boom that is being predicted by economists and evangelists actualizes, the impetus of growth and the ability to capitalize on the myriad opportunities will require the participation of young millennials.
“The plant floor of 1985 is nothing like the plant floor of 2015! So we know we really have to work on the technical skills of the incoming workforce,” notes Honda Vice President Rick Schostek.
Hard-work and the willingness to adapt to changing conditions may no longer cut it. New production units and factories have been revolutionized with computer-aided-design software consoles and automation in the form of robotic arms. An employee needs to possess the know-how to manage the high-tech equipment under his surveillance and also wrap his head around incoming challenges to respond in time to the agile marketplace.
In short, blue collar is not something to be discounted. It has eventually come to stand for a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical implementation skills.
ARE COMPANIES READY?
With less than 25% of the present manufacturing employees hailing from Gen Y and with potential growth on the horizon, most companies are not prepped to handle the exodus of its reliable work-force. Millennials are keenly interested in IT and software oriented projects and their misconceptions about the unrewarding (and unsafe) nature of manufacturing jobs keep them away from the sector quite successfully.
If the current scenario is to change and the skill gap is to be reduced, companies must make a synchronized effort to present manufacturing as a desirable alternative with competitive pay and benefits. Columbus State Community college has responded with foresight and has tweaked several of its vocational courses to better educate and prepare interested students to thrive in the sector of manufacturing.
Production Materials Inc. wholeheartedly supports these endeavours and prides itself on being a part of one of the largest employment generating sectors of the US economy.