This article was written by Jennifer Shore, Digital Marketing Manager at ThomasNet.
The term “Millennial” tends to get thrown around in online quizzes, job interviews and plenty of other discussions. This identifier usually brings up mental pictures (at least for me, anyway) of hipsters working at cool tech companies or using their Apple Watch to check stock numbers on the subway.
But over the last few years, I’ve noticed an entirely different connotation in working with the manufacturing industry. In fact, you’ve most likely heard or said something along these lines yourself: The next-generation needs to get interested in STEM careers. With news outlets pushing out blogs and op-eds about nervous hiring managers scrounging around for talent, it’s no surprise there’s plenty of chatter on these Millennials and how they can change everything.
However, there’s still an overwhelming amount of data to show that current manufacturers don’t necessary buy into the idea that the next-gen wants to work with them. Looking at some of the findings from ThomasNet’s annual Industry Market Barometer study, you’ll see:
- 46% of manufacturers think Millennials see the industry as blue collar work and want nothing to do with it
- 43% of manufacturers believe that the generation lacks the work ethic and discipline to succeed
- 81% of manufacturers have no plans to hire Millennials
These numbers are a little startling. With so many Baby Boomers eyeing retirement, how can we set up for success if there’s such a notable disconnect between the generations? And what can we do to change this?
Consider the exploding popularity of STEM education programs and opportunities. By getting the word out about all the manufacturing industry embodies in the education system, students will realize there are options for their career paths to really make an impact.
Take supply chain, for instance. The industry will need to fill about 1.4 million jobs, or roughly 270,000 per year, by 2018. Not only are there vacancies, but there is plenty of room for existing workers to grow — and we should take pride in that.
This is one of the many reasons why ThomasNet and ISM launched the “30 Under 30” Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program last year. There are so many “young” professionals with accomplishments that far exceed their years of experience and continue to make a difference. By shining the spotlight on these individuals, they’re provided a chance to talk about their experiences, how they came to having a supply chain career and some of the roadblocks they’ve faced along the way.
There are a number of things you can do to make an impact such as this. Whether it’s by opening up your shop to internship or apprenticeship programs, getting involved in local STEM initiatives or nominating for the second annual “30 Under 30” Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program here, you have an opportunity.