This week I will get a chance speaking on behalf of local manufacturing companies during a special event with mayor Kenny from Philly and the mayor from Frankfurt Germany (Frankfurt and Philly are sister/ partner cities). Main topic will be embracing learn and earn apprenticeships and co-ops connecting students with manufacturers. My key message will be that manufacturing is far from dead. In fact low quantity high complexity manufacturing has come back not only to this area. This comes at a pivotal time when old talent will retire at an alarming rate in the next five to ten years. Yet, the fourth oldest workforce – that being manufacturing – struggles finding people fill their open positions.
I hear this all the time: “Millennials are so entitled”, “Do they think they get a trophy here for just showing up?”, “They do not know how to show up on time”, “They need so much re-assurance”, they this or that. It is just unreal how much and how many entrepreneurs and business leaders shun their future work force.
In my view this is a great fallacy committed upon the folks fitting the Millennial envelope. It is also a fallacy committed upon your organizations. Perhaps it is about time that companies reflected upon the fact whom they think will start filling their open positions vacated by their long term employees. It won’t be the few folks left on the open job market. They people they want to employ may have the experience etc they need, but they are gainfully employed elsewhere.
I have found the youngest members of the up and coming workforce to be phenomenal team members who can contribute so much to your workforce. That is if you and your organization are willing to provide three very basic things that even incumbent workers will grow to embrace if not love:
- Provide a purpose greater than ourselves. Time needs to be worth spending at your place of work
- Provide a career path
- Provide a structure embracing the career path
Perhaps this is the time for the companies to do some soul searching and embracing change and not only looking at the potential future job candidate just trying to “fit in”. Millennials deserve better than just off-putting generalizations. They are intricate part of our future.