BY Automation Machine


You’ve probably heard about them: Millennials. Who are they? They’re the demographic cohort after Generation X, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. What impact do they have on the manufacturing industry? In the years to come, Millennials will become the biggest workforce available for manufacturers as older workers retire. And those experienced workers are retiring in droves: 80% of the manufacturing workforce consists of Baby Boomers ages 45 to 65. Ten thousand boomers are retiring every day in the United States alone.


Threat? No. Opportunity? Definitely. With innovations such as high-tech robotics and production line automation increasingly common in plants, manufacturers have a huge opportunity to benefit from employing the tech savvy Millennial generation. These 20- to 30-year-olds grew up interacting with technology and adapting to the rapid pace at which new innovations evolved into even newer ones. 

Not surprisingly, Millennials prefer manufacturing jobs that have technologic components. If they work in a plant, they’d rather control a servo-driven robot than perform a repetitive job such as putting a bag on a spout for a manual bagger. Consequently, in order to prepare for what some researchers predict will be 2 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2025, companies should consider how they’ll attract Millennials as employees. One way to help ensure manufacturers’ ability to do this is by introducing robotics and automation to their production lines. So, while the incoming tidal wave of retiring boomers may seem terrifying right now, this situation is actually an opportunity for manufacturers to consider the advantages that automation offers.

Introducing robotics and automation to your production line may be the best way to benefit from the demographic switch to the Millennials generation. That’s because introducing automation creates new, “high value” positions that are more attractive to this generation. For them, jobs that involve engineering, technology and robotics are attractive. Companies that want to circumvent the looming shortage of plant workers may want to think about investing in robotics and hiring Millennial-age workers to manage them.