Modern Manufacturing: How Millennials Have Shifted the Manufacturing Workforce

By NIST MEP on March 15, 2016

When Millennials were asked to give their thoughts on manufacturing, their responses were all the same. The image of manufacturing, as seen by Millennials was a factory pumping gases into the atmosphere and machinery shooting dust everywhere. Overall, manufacturing has an image of being dirty and boring.

See the video below created by the Manufacturing Institute to spread awareness about the manufacturing industry and encourage students to enter the workforce.

What is Modern Manufacturing?


The Dream It. Do It. Campaign in 2005 has been pushing student’s interest in pursuing a manufacturing career and today, we are seeing a completely new perception on what manufacturing looks like.

Future workers in the industry will include positions in engineering, business, technology, robotics, business and online marketing strategies in manufacturing.

The main driver of modern manufacturing is also the Internet of Things and the use of data and technology in the workplace.

Manufacturing Companies Prepare For a New Workforce

In the “2016 Hot Trends in Supply Chain and Logistics Report” by EyeforTransport (eft), respondents representing LSPs, manufacturers, retailers and solution providers were surveyed.

When respondents were asked if their company was prepared for a future change in workforce and adding Millennials, the following results were reported:

36% said yes, they have adjusted our on-boarding to reflect millennial values – technology, innovation, data-driven, ownership, etc.
25.5% said yes, and there is no need to change our current practices of on-boarding
17.6% said no, but they have plans in place to do something to ensure our business is aligned with this workforce
12.1% said no, and they don’t have a plan as of yet
8.8% answered they didn’t know

Supply chain organizations will no longer look like ‘dirty factories’ as companies are shifting towards a more technologically-superior environment to suit the new labor force. Manufacturing companies will soon have more robotics, predictive systems, and an overall safe and high-tech look that is completely different from what the industry looked like 100 years ago.

Today, manufacturing supports 17.4 million jobs in the U.S. and that number is growing. If we want to continue to make America’s workforce stronger, we will have to shift to a more futuristic process and appeal to the new majority of the U.S. workforce.

For more info on this topic, check out the links below:

Strengthening the Manufacturing Workforce

Robots: Making Manufacturing Safer, Faster, and Better for the U.S. Economy

U.S. Manufacturers Will Overtake Manufacturing Countries by 2020