Study Highlights Manufacturers' Need to Attract New Generation of Workers

While there have been significant gains in technological advancements, public awareness lags.


Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute conducted a study to measure perceptions of U.S. manufacturing.

While there have been significant gains in technological advancements, public awareness lags. Study findings suggest U.S. manufacturing is at an inflection point and this can be used to increase public awareness and emphasize career opportunities. 

Attracting and retaining a quality workforce is a top focus, according to 83% of surveyed manufacturers. However, approximately 45% of manufacturing executives said they turned down business opportunities because of worker shortages. 

The study claims the majority of workers still prefer retail, technology and services positions. 

According to the study, outdated public perceptions could be affecting recruiting new workers. Perceptions are changing because of the industry's response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the study stresses the need for manufacturers to reiterate expected technology enhancements. 

"We are at a watershed moment when a new wave of workers is needed to advance our use of technology and maintain U.S. economic competitiveness," said Paul Wellener, Deloitte's vice chair and U.S. industrial products and construction leader. 

To attract the younger generation, manufacturers need to understand candidates' desire for flexible work options, well-being initiatives and pathways to career progression. 

Additionally, creating a more diverse and balanced gender representation will likely expand the talent pool. Although 84% of manufacturing executives feel their company is effective in this category, they also acknowledged that more could be done.  

On a positive note, 64% of consumers surveyed viewed manufacturing as innovative, which increased from 39% five years ago.