Attracting Younger Employees for Your Manufacturing Workforce

August 19, 2021 - minute read

The US economy has been in a state of recovery for months, but many employers are still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels. While the revival of commerce has brought an end to mass-furloughs and hiring recesses, manufacturers continue to face a relatively unique setback: securing younger employees.

The manufacturing industry has struggled with what many have called an “image problem” for years. With there being a common misconception that manufacturing jobs are in decline and incapable of being safe, well-paying, or fulfilling – is it any wonder why young people have come to avoid the industry? Luckily, recent studies have shown that young people are open to a future in manufacturing when given the right incentives.

Don’t Overlook Younger Generations

Embracing younger generations isn’t just good for the long-term success of your business, it’s critical for the survival of manufacturing. Employees remain the most important asset your operation has, especially since your industry is facing an aging workforce. According to the Manufacturing Institute, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need filling over the next decade, but as many as 2 million of them will not go unfilled. Retirees simply cannot get replaced fast enough.

Meanwhile, younger employees are theoretically in abundance. According to a Gusto report, workers under the age of 25 were more likely to be laid off than any other age bracket 35 years old and older amidst the pandemic. It would seem, that a largely untapped hiring goldmine is right within reach.

But the question remains: what do young people want?

Younger Generations Want Opportunities to Grow

Younger generations expect their employers to go above and beyond just a job offer. They expect you to demonstrate a unified vision, invest in their development, and reward long-term service with advancement. In a recent Manufacturing Engagement and Retention Survey, more than half of manufacturing employees under the age of 25 said they stuck with their employers because of training and development (69%) and career opportunities (65%).

Dedicating time and effort to newcomers’ growth shows employees that you want to aid them in building a career and reaching their full potential. When it comes to retention, it is clear that younger generations are looking for a symbiotic relationship with employers who have their best interests in mind.

Other Ways You Can Entice Manufacturing Employees

Ensuring pathways for growth via training and advancement opportunities may be key, but your efforts should not stop there. HR can have an equally powerful impact on your efforts recruiting and keeping younger employees.

Consider the following HR-driven tactics for keeping your pipeline filled:

  • Write Engaging Job Descriptions: Sourcing younger employees starts the same way as it would with any other type of employee: with job descriptions. Recruiting younger employees means having trustworthy, appealing summaries of the positions you are looking to fill. If you do not regularly examine your job descriptions (including after an employee quits), it is a beneficial step to add to your process.
  • Prioritizing Your Employer Image: Upholding strong company values, safeguarding your facilities with safer technology, and other brand-defining actions all play a part in optimizing your recruitment efforts with potential employees. Consider examining your policies, mission statement, and company culture for more insight on how you can market to younger prospective hires.
  • Enhancing Benefits: Standard benefits like healthcare insurance and PTO are the bare minimum for younger employees, especially when it comes to setting you apart from your competitors. The more benefits you have to offer, the better chance you will have of enticing new hires into your industry. Broadcast your unique perks to excite employees and keep them longer – including apps to make benefits administration easier.
  • Having Great Managers: Your team managers drive morale and productivity, lower turnover, and help employees achieve their goals. That makes them an integral part of drawing employees to your business and nurturing your relationship with new talent in a positive way. Support popular internal leaders to maintain your employer brand and include managers in your interviewing process to start building a positive connection from day one.

For more insight into overcoming hiring setbacks during the pandemic, check out our other blog: “Hiring in the COVID-19 Era: Changing Solutions for Changing Times.”

Hiring Solutions Built for Manufacturing

Not only does EPAY Systems provide competitive HR management and benefits administration like the kind previously mentioned… we house a talent acquisition solution as part of our Human Capital Management (HCM) platform. Our analytics can help you track and interpret your hiring data: where the best hires came from, which job sites produce the most turnover, and even where gaps in your talent pool exist.

Want to see our system in action? Take a tour or request a personalized demo today!

Filed Under: Applicant Tracking & Hiring Manufacturing