A group of American manufacturers met recently to discuss moving manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Oddly enough the event was sponsored by Wal-Mart.
Just this past week I heard another report that said that the construction industry is booming but construction workers were lacking. The gentlemen being interviewed said these workers were “either dead or retiring.”
Apparently IT jobs are also looking for qualified workers because the demand is high but qualified workers is in short supply.
It seems that a few American corporations have gotten themselves in a pickle.
Skill sets that employed millions of Americans during the 1950s and up until the 1980s are in vogue again but an ample workforce does not exist. These companies are going to have to market these jobs to Generation Y and if they’re smart Generation Z. There may even be a few Gen Xers who are willing to retrain.
So companies are making the rounds to high school and college career days across the country in hopes of enticing young people to consider construction and manufacturing jobs.
What I know about manufacturing and construction jobs
Everything I know about manufacturing and construction jobs I learned from the men in my family – a Gen X and the rest Baby Boomers. Manufacturing and construction jobs are rigid. You clock in, you do the work, you take a 10- or 15-minute break, you go back to work, take a half-hour lunch, work some more, take an afternoon break and you go home. More days than not, there’s overtime and your weekends may not be your own if marketing has promised more than a regular shift can produce. The pay however, is more than adequate…we’re talking upwards of $20 an hour.
One family member works for a manufacturing company and manages a group of employees—everybody from Gen Y or Millennials to Baby Boomers is represented and it’s Gen Y that struggles the most in this environment.
By there very nature
Manufacturing jobs ask their employees to produce a single product or family of products and the way those products get made doesn’t change from day-to-day. Not typically anyway. The jobs require skill, some the ability to troubleshoot and problem solve, but they don’t offer variety and things can get, well, monotonous. And for the generation that thrives on constant change this could be a problem.
So I see American manufacturers in for a tough time trying to recruit Generation Y into their folds. Not impossible by any means, but in addition to some top notch marketing to get them in the door, it’s going to take some innovation and training to keep them there.