- Members of Generation Z are 7% more likely to consider working in manufacturing compared to the general population, according to a study by manufacturing software provider Leading2Lean. But there is still strong interest in other fields: 56% of Gen Zers would prefer working in the tech industry, while only 27% would consider working in manufacturing.
- Leading2Lean's three-part survey showed Gen Zers are also less likely to view the industry sector negatively than other workers. Other survey results point to potential explanations for this, including that nearly one-third of Generation Z have a family member or friend working in manufacturing, while 32% have had a teacher, counselor or mentor advise them to consider a job in manufacturing. Both marks are higher than those for the general population.
- Leading2Lean said a perception gap may exist among the public when it comes to compensation in the manufacturing industry. Over half of respondents surveyed by the company thought the average salary of a mid-level manager in manufacturing was under $60,000 annually. But the company pointed to a survey of readers by IndustryWeek that showed the average salary for managers was $118,500 annually.
Manufacturing has been competing with the tech sector and other industries for talent for decades, in part due to an image problem surrounding manufacturing jobs, experts previously told HR Dive. But leaders in the industry have urged employers to get creative in their employment propositions while calling for immigration reform to draw in immigrants with needed to skills.
Attracting younger talent will require a serious effort from manufacturing employers, Leading2Lean president and CEO Keith Barr said in a statement. "The industry needs to consider developing and deploying plant-floor technology that utilizes gamification and transparency to take advantage of Gen Z's unique skills. The greatest opportunity for manufacturing is to have an engaged, empowered workforce that is constantly innovating."
Aside from changing marketing efforts to promote highly compensated opportunities in the industry, manufacturers have also opted to boost talent pools by working directly with community colleges. Others have sought to address external perceptions through diversity and inclusion programming, which has been backed by groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, the industry's top lobby.