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From Hire to Inspire: Getting─and Keeping─Gen Z in Manufacturing

Gen Z workers say they’re open to jobs in manufacturing. But getting them to take these jobs, engage, and stay will mean changing a work environment long optimized for machines, not people.

In some respects, the US manufacturing sector would seem to be in better shape than it’s been in years. Unprecedented levels of funding are flowing in from both domestic and foreign sources. A surge of new technologies, collectively promising a Fourth Industrial Revolution, is taking hold—and promising to reignite productivity growth. And, conveniently, a generation of workers who have spent their whole lives immersed in technology is coming on the scene: Generation Z.

According to the research, Gen Z workers’ motivations for taking, keeping, or leaving a job are similar to those of older cohorts, although compensation is somewhat less of a draw compared with factors such as career development and advancement, flexibility, meaningful work, and caring leadership. Another big difference, of course, is that Gen Z knows it has options, given sustained low employment.

What manufacturers are “doing wrong” with Gen Z employees is just a symptom of what they have been doing with their employees more generally, often for decades. Their standard move was to offer more money. But even when that option has been affordable, it clearly isn’t working: manufacturers are filling only six out of ten job openings.

A few companies are getting it right by applying an old insight: regarding workers as critical investments, not just as costs. One consumer goods manufacturer restructured its workforce management system to offer greater flexibility and give workers more control over their career pathways. Both factors are critical for Gen Z and are important for other workers, too. The impact was profound: staffing levels rose 25 percentage points, raising production output by 20 percent as losses due to unscheduled line shutdowns fell by 70 percent.

For more insights, read the full article here.

Source: McKinsey & Company

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