New Study Reveals Manufacturers’ Need to Attract New Generation of Workers

This past March, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute finalized their study to measure the perceptions of the U.S. manufacturing sector by consumers. While there have been significant gains in technological advancements, the research revealed that raising public awareness about these improvements has been slow. Study findings suggest U.S. manufacturing is at an inflection point, and this can be used to increase public awareness and emphasize career opportunities. 

According to 83% of surveyed manufacturers, attracting and retaining a quality workforce is a top focus. However, approximately 45% of manufacturing executives said they turned down business opportunities because of worker shortages. The study claims the majority of workers still prefer retail, technology and services positions. 

One major reason for this, according to the study, is outdated public perceptions which could be affecting the recruitment of new workers. While perceptions are changing due to the industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the study stresses the need for manufacturers to reiterate expected technology enhancements. 

“We are at a watershed moment when a new wave of workers is needed to advance our use of technology and maintain U.S. economic competitiveness,” said Paul Wellener, Deloitte’s vice chair and U.S. industrial products and construction leader. 

To attract the younger generation, the study recommends that manufacturers must focus on understanding candidates’ desire for flexible work options, well-being initiatives and pathways to career progression. 64% of consumers surveyed viewed manufacturing as innovative, which increased from 39% five years ago., but many don’t see how these innovations can help them achieve a healthy life-work balance and build a productive career.

Additionally, creating a more diverse and balanced gender representation will likely expand the talent pool. Although 84% of manufacturing executives feel their company is effective in this category, they also acknowledged that more could be done.