A poster on Reddit wrote, with regard to getting youth interested in manufacturing:
“Management understands that the worker demographic is aging. I mean I started when I was 24. I was the youngest kid at the plant that wasn’t a coop student. My coworkers on average were 10-15 years my senior, and management is well into their 50-60s.”
He went on to say that young people coming out of college today have no idea how “big” manufacturing is in terms of jobs available, career types, and the amount of things you can learn.
Another poster recommended the standard advice about reaching out on National Manufacturing Day or forming partnerships with the local vocational high school or college. Those are good ideas.
But, what if . . .
Small manufacturers with 50 or fewer employees make up the bulk of manufacturing in the US (source). What if they made a real effort to attract and educate younger workers on the benefits of a career in manufacturing . . . the same way they educate prospects on the benefits of their products and services?
Instead of a boring “Career Opportunities” page listing the standard job openings, a small manufacturer could create a whole new section on the website — “Why Work With Us” — or even better, an entire YouTube channel.
This website or channel could include interviews of employees just starting out as well as those who have been at the company for five or ten years. Employees could discuss what they’ve learned or how they’ve progressed in their career.
Employees could also discuss some of the projects they’ve worked on, things they’ve created, or challenges they’ve solved.
In fact, Dow Corning has created a YouTube channel with many of these types videos, including this one about its apprenticeship program:
You don’t need Dow Corning’s budget to create a video showcase
To create videos with some pizzazz and verve, small manufacturers can reach out to local university film studies or multimedia studies programs and recruit a student or two.
Not only would you get some videos with energy, but you’d also get the benefit of learning how your future employees think — and what interests them.
The students in turn would get samples to add to their portfolio. And, since they’re so tightly connected on social media, your company would get a small boost as the students promote their work among their friends.
To help promote crucial partnerships and create a pipeline of viable candidates, small manufacturers could also showcase their younger employees’ work during tours with local schools, at National Manufacturing Day, or at trade shows or other events.
The point is, to fill this looming job /skills gap in manufacturing, the industry as a whole needs to think different. Gone are the old days of simply posting a job using bland corporate-speak and then perusing resumes.
Instead, savvy manufacturers need to think like Hybrid Racing in Louisiana. This small manufacturer posted this engineering opportunity on Reddit — where their target audience hangs out.
Absolutely LOVE this posting! Why? Because it’s written to attract younger people:
- Show me the money
- Cool toys
Be sure to check out the company’s “About” page to learn how a bunch of teenagers started this successful company with a refreshing attitude. It’s not that difficult to come across authentically like this — which in turn attracts the kind of people who share your values.