Jeff Moad’s article “Manufacturing’s Profile Rises, But Not Among the Young” on the Manufacturing Executive website ponders a recent survey by Deloitte, LLP and the Manufacturing Institute between “old school” views of manufacturing in America versus the younger generation’s apparent lack of faith in manufacturing as a base for our country’s economic stability.
According to the report, wherever older survey respondents indicated that manufacturing is important to the economy and that jobs are rewarding and interesting, respondents in the 18-24 age group replied their apparent lack of faith by at least 10 percentage points less.
What is the cause of this? Is it the lack of any real manufacturing recruiting to that age demographic?
Do people in that demographic see industrial and manufacturing jobs in a negative light? What could manufacturers do to improve any negative images they may have garnered over the years?
What could manufacturing do to improve their image with a group they will absolutely NEED for their workforce?
Although Moad doesn’t really take any particular stance or impart his opinions on his readers, I think his article speaks for his concern. Those of us who have worked in manufacturing are seeing the gap. It is widening, and it is frustrating.
Whether it is from a society that is increasingly moving away from a desire to work in factories and production facilities and schools that push students to go to liberal arts colleges, we are getting less and less skilled workers coming to industry. And manufacturing isn’t winning any supporters with decreased wages, layoffs, and offshoring representing what was once our primary employer in this country.