The manufacturing industry's struggle to fill its workforce demand is not new. The problem manufacturers face isn't a lack of available workers, rather a lack of industry interest.
A new study by Kronos suggests that this struggle may continue unless something is done to not only draw the attention of the current workforce, but to build the long term interest of our workforce of tomorrow.
Parents of Tomorrow's Workforce are Discouraged by Manufacturing's Misconception
For Manufacturing Day, workforce management solutions provider Kronos conducted a 2018 Manufacturing Day Survey, pulling together industry perception from more than 1,000 parents with children under the age of 18. The major takeaways included a persistent view of manufacturing jobs involving hard, manual labor and long work hours. Although most parents would encourage their kids to pursue rewarding careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concentrations, they did not see a clear connection between STEM and manufacturing.
On the contrary, these studies are all very much applicable and needed within manufacturing, and lack of awareness plays a huge part in the persistent gap. Once these parents learned of the sheer opportunities within the industry and the modern state of technologies and workplace conditions, they largely expressed greater encouragement for their children to consider manufacturing as a career outlet.
Workplace Technology Helps Highlight the Industry's Advancements as an Employer
Parents' concerns about the type of labor and working conditions will persist unless manufacturers begin to showcase how their workplaces are worlds different from what they seemed in the past. Technology, such as the workforce management solutions used to track time, schedules, and career development, captures the heart of the new benefits and advantages these companies have to offer. These solutions have helped employees achieve greater flexibility in their work and growth and have allowed managers to provide even greater support for their development — strengthening working relationships.
Now is the time for manufacturers to celebrate not just immediate jobs, but to celebrate the career paths enabled by technology that builds up their workforce from within and provides workers the same desirable amenities offered in other industries. It might take a little convincing to start, but once people realize the potential manufacturers as employers truly offer, they and their children will be more eager to find their place and fill the gap.