It's a phrase often joked about on social media when referring to the beef often stemming from the generational differences between older baby boomers and millennials. Although there are plenty of differences between these generations, on the manufacturing floor, everyone should be working towards reaching the same goals. When these differences become an issue in employee relations and the productivity of the team, someone needs to address them.
As the older generation gets closer and closer to retirement age, younger generations will need to step up to the plate in manufacturing environments to ensure the continued flow of the economy. In fact, manufacturing is one of the top industry players in determining economic health. According to the CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance, for every job created in a manufacturing environment, there are 3.4 jobs created in other sectors. Something no other industry comes close to matching. It's important that any generational gap is dealt with promptly before it impacts the future of our country.
With ¼ of the manufacturing workforce being over the age of 55, retaining younger employees is essential. Pew Research reported that 3.2 million more baby boomers retired in 2020 than in 2019. There are expected to be 2.1 million industry jobs open by 2030. This means that 25% of the manufacturing population will need to be replaced in fewer than 8 years. So what should human resources (HR) professionals be doing to help close the generational gap in manufacturing?
HR managers should be implementing multiple strategies to begin bridging the gap as early as possible. Opportunities include: