Prime Advantage Blog

Manufacturing's Generation Next

Louise O'Sullivan on Sep 8, 2015 10:57:00 AM

The manufacturing world is an ever-evolving ecosystem. To survive, you must constantly rethink ideas, innovate, and stay on top of trends. One area manufacturing has traditionally failed to stay on top is hiring women and young talent. According to a study done by Women in Manufacturing, females make up 47% of the total workforce population, yet only 27% of manufacturing jobs are held by women. With so much cutting-edge technology requiring highly skilled expertise, manufacturing should be a larger magnet for intelligent, highly energetic students seeking jobs.


According to a study by PWC, 85% of respondents said an employer’s policy on diversity, equality, and workforce inclusion was essential. So why has the manufacturing industry failed to keep pace with something this important? Many manufacturers may not go far enough when it comes to recruiting young, talented millennials and females. And many employees, once in these roles, may not stay in the manufacturing sector because of poor working relationships, lack of promotion opportunities, career and skill development, or earning potential.  

The education system is trying to do its part to help rectify this deficiency. As we see in Tackling the Gender Gap in Manufacturing, colleges and universities are offering degrees and programs to train students for manufacturing related professions. This available talent pool is highly educated and flooding the workforce in large numbers. And with the supply chain industry on track to lose 2 million workers over the next decade, millennials and women are the perfect candidates to step into these roles.

Here are three tips to help manufacturers better evolve with the changing workforce landscape:

1. Attract and recruit

  • Offer competitive, enticing benefits and provide growth opportunities within your organization.
  • Create policies that appeal to millennials and females such as childcare and flexible hours. For more ideas, check out this article by PWC.

2. Develop and educate

  • Millennials are used to being taught – it’s what they’ve done their whole lives. Offer instructional videos, training sessions, and other opportunities for ongoing education so that they feel empowered to better perform at their job functions.
  • Improve on existing and add non-existing policies such as how your company deals with issues and provides feedback.

3. Nurture

  • Solve the inequality issue by creating relationships and teamwork.
  • Feedback is important to keeping all workers engaged. Providing constructive advice will let your employees know what they’re doing well and where they can improve.
  • Finally, have fun! Make your office environment enjoyable so that your employees will want to grow with your company.

Adding diversity to one’s workplace increases competition, perspective and innovation. Attracting, developing, and nurturing millennials and female millennials in particular, will pave the way for innovation and advancement at your organization.

Download the 2015 Purchasing and Manufacturing Survey from Prime Advantage

Topics: Talent and Leadership

Louise O'Sullivan

Posted by Louise O'Sullivan

Louise O'Sullivan founded Prime Advantage, a Chicago-based Group Purchasing Organization for mid-market manufacturers, in 1997, following a successful 22-year manufacturing executive career with the Dover Corporation. Louise has won top manufacturing and supply chain awards, and is a featured speaker at many events.

Search Our Blog

Subscribe to Blog