3 Winning Strategies for Recruiting Millennials and Gen Z Workers to Manufacturing

As the Baby Boomer generation nears retirement, manufacturers are facing a critical challenge: a shortage of new hires to keep their facility afloat. To fill these roles, human resource managers and recruiters need to understand how to attract and retain Millennial and Gen Z workers.  So, what can you do to appeal to this new generation of potential employees? Here are three effective strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

Invest in Digital Tools & Technology:  

Millennials and Gen Z grew up with technology, and, like it or not, they expect their workplace to be tech-savvy as well. According to a study by Deloitte, 64% of Millennials and 67% of Gen Z consider the availability of state-of-the-art technology a top priority when choosing an employer. They are digital natives, which means you need to engage them where they are – online.  

Start by making the recruitment experience and onboarding process digital. Human resource managers can also leverage social platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok to show their manufacturing facility, job openings, and company culture in a fun and engaging way. Pro-tip, if your facility has advanced technology like automation systems or robotics, be sure to include that in the job description and highlight it on social media!  

MyWorkChoice business partner, Quality Bicycle Parts introduced CHUCK – a cutting-edge robotic cart that does the heavy lifting for workers seen below.


Offer Flexibility:  

Millennials and Gen Z value work-life balance and flexibility in their schedule. “Millennials and Gen Z workers place a high value on flexibility. Providing them the opportunity to adjust their work hours or use technology to schedule and drop shifts on demand can go a long way in attracting and retaining this talent,” – Jonathan A. Segal, Managing Partner at Duane Morris LLP.  By offering flexible work schedules and technology to easily schedule, swap or drop shifts on demand, companies can attract and retain talent looking for a healthy work-life balance. 

Terra R from Ottawa, KS shared her experience with MyWorkChoice, stating, “MyWorkChoice flexible schedule has made it possible for me to work when I want while still being a full-time student. I feel like I’m more in control of my life and how I use my time.” 

Flexibility doesn’t just benefit workers. Offering flexible scheduling is a two-way street that also improves your ability to meet production quotas. Increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and higher employee morale leads to an increase in worker output and reduces the likelihood of needing overtime to complete orders.  


Partners in Education:  

A study by The Manufacturing Institute found that only 3 in 10 Americans believe that manufacturing offers a strong career path. Partnering with educational institutions can help change this perception and attract more young talent to the industry. 

Partnering with local high schools, community colleges, and trade schools, can be an effective way to build a pipeline of talented workers and attract younger talent to the manufacturing industry.  

  1. Attend job fairs: Attending job fairs at educational institutions is a great way to connect with potential candidates in a space they are comfortable in. Help them understand the opportunities to learn valuable skills such as robotics and engineering, along with talking about the potential career paths to becoming a manager or business leader. 
  2. Collaborate on curriculum development: Partner with local schools to help develop curriculum and programs that focus on core skills. Consider supporting robotics, engineering, and other STEM programs with your existing workers who can inspire young people to pursue a career in manufacturing. 
  3. Provide scholarships: There are plenty of people in your community interested in educational programs related to manufacturing, but they can’t afford the tuition. Offer them the opportunity to learn these valuable skills and ensure the next generation of workers can enter your facility and make an immediate impact.  

The Future is Now 

When it comes to attracting Millennials and Gen Z to manufacturing, companies need to take a new approach. Change can be hard, but it’s essential for businesses that want to succeed. By modernizing your workplace and adjusting the ways you engage with younger audiences, you can create exciting career paths that will appeal to a whole new group of potential workers. Manufacturers have a tremendous opportunity to not just bring in new talent but retain them for years to come.  

Take the first step today!

Scroll to Top

Subscribe Now

Get current real-world flexible workforce management tips, trends, and market predictions from industry experts straight to your inbox.