New research from Barclays shows that only 6% of Gen Z think of manufacturing for a career ! They do not believe that they have the skills nor do they see it as a sector with great career prospects.
It is no surprise that the majority aspire towards the digital, technology or IT sectors. This would indicate that there will be a growing talent shortage in the manufacturing space but it is based on a lack of understanding. Manufacturing uses advanced technology and has for years, it is increasingly robotics driven but the sector is clearly not communicating effectively with the coming generations.
When you look at the competencies this sector needs - decision making, social, resource management, problem solving and technical it is really no different from any other sector that this generation is attracted to.
This mismatch between the truth and the perception has been a growing problem, c40% of the participants revealed that they think the problem is increasing.
It looks obvious that this needs both strategic as well as tactical solutions. Strategic in that the industry needs to start a communications plan to re-educate future generations on the benefits and opportunities of careers in this sector. At a tactical level the challenge is driving better pipelines through engaging with the audience in the right channels and with the appropriate messages that dispel the myths that they have of this sector.
Instead, young people aspire towards careers in digital, technology and IT, with manufacturing ranking only 17th out of 19 potential career paths. One reason why young people are reluctant to take up a career in manufacturing, is that there are misconceptions around the skills that workers can develop: only one third (33%) of young people believe a career in manufacturing will provide them with advanced technology skills. This is despite the fact that advanced technology is a key driver of growth for UK manufacturing companies. Furthermore, when asked about what they want from their future career, young people say that the opportunity to constantly build their skills (40%) is one of their top priorities. This shows that although a career in manufacturing could fulfil their future job aspirations, young people are unaware of the opportunities that the sector provides.