1. Make pay a priority

Cropped hands of businessman opening envelope with paycheck
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Though millennials are considered the most educated generation to date, the average millennial worker earns 20% less than baby boomers did at the same stage in life.

Given their large student debt balances and a rising cost of living not matched by wage growth, many millennials are struggling to make ends meet — at a time when most members of the generation are already in their 30s. Fewer millennials are buying homes and starting families, and Gen Zers may find themselves in the same financial bind.

Pay is a top priority for young workers, particularly those who graduated into an economic depression and lost years of valuable career growth.

Millennials want enough money to support a family, pay back debt, and live without working side hustles, so strong manufacturing salaries should be a central part of job posts. Contrary to jokes about pool tables and minibars, millennials want financial security more than on-the-job luxuries.

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2. Advertise in the right places

ZipRecruiter Job Search app in App Store. Close-up on the laptop screen.
PREMIO STOCK / Shutterstock

For younger generations, job searching almost entirely revolves around the internet. When looking for new employment online, most job seekers head straight to aggregator sites like ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn and Indeed to check out the atmosphere.

Companies that don’t make the most of these platforms miss out on great workers of all ages.

Many job search sites allow for paid promotions, placing sponsored job ads at the top of search results to enhance visibility. Taking on the extra cost may not be a financially wise move for every manufacturing firm, but it can be a good way to make sure job searchers see open roles, even when they're not searching specifically for manufacturing jobs.

Young people in search of a good-paying job with no particular field in mind may jump at a lucrative opportunity in manufacturing.

3. Create a comfortable climate

People at work greeting each other with elbow bump due to global corona virus pandemic and danger of infection
Aleksandar Malivuk / Shutterstock

Millennials and other younger workers prioritize things like respect and open communication in the workplace, according to the latest research on employment trends.

They want to feel valued, heard and appreciated — and many feel they owe their employers little, if anything, if they are not treated well. After the economic and social disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment activity is showing young people aren't afraid to walk away from jobs with poor working conditions and low pay.

Benefits that encourage wellness can go a long way toward attracting and keeping younger workers.

They want to feel safe discussing mental health at work, and they’re looking for flexibility in scheduling to accommodate family emergencies and other personal issues. They’re seeking perks that include maternity and paternity leave.

A rigid culture that prioritizes work above all else isn't appealing to younger workers, especially those dealing with burnout and abuse from other employers. Some millennials, particularly those with working spouses, may even stay in lower-paying roles in exchange for flexibility, trust and respect.

If your business’s status quo is turning off younger people, it may be time to consider making a change to keep up with the times.

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4. Implement mentorship opportunities

Young female engineer in uniform and helmet looking at tablet display while listening to colleague explanation of data
Pressmaster / Shutterstock

Starting a new job in a new field can be overwhelming, particularly one that currently isn't popular among young people. But a mentoring program can help a fresh young recruit feel more comfortable.

When you provide new employees with support from the start, they're better positioned to succeed in a satisfying career. Many jobs leave new employees to flounder, rudderless, so manufacturing has an opportunity to establish itself as a field that’s different, and offers young workers mentorship to put them on a strong footing.

Mentoring can go beyond helping new employees settle in. A program that provides continuing education, like training classes and conferences, can offer workers the industry insights needed to succeed.

Pathways to senior job roles can be appealing, especially for younger manufacturing workers with sights set on management and increased responsibility. When you invest in employees and give them the tools to excel, you’re offering them a reason to invest in you, the employer.

Bottom line

With the potential for upheaval in manufacturing as baby boomers retire, attracting young talent is vital to the industry.

By learning how to craft an environment that speaks to young workers — about pay, perks and advancement — and making the most of aggregate job boards like ZipRecruiter, companies can find the perfect people to fill today’s manufacturing jobs and build lasting careers in the field.

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About the Author

Sarah Khan

Sarah Khan

Former Associate Editor

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