What the Manufacturing Workforce Wants

The needs and desires of manufacturing workers are important, and failing to fulfil those needs can have a disastrous impact on the workforce.

Manufacturing workers want to be trained with the most up-to-date technologies and processes. They want to work in environments that are safe, secure and clean. They want workplaces that offer work-life balance and diversity in career development opportunities. Though these wants differ by subsector of manufacturing, these wants are universal across all levels of the manufacturing workforce – from entry level to top executives.

worker performing electronics job tasks

KEY POINTS

  • Technology helps to keep manufacturing relevant
  • Workers want flexible working hours for a variety of reasons
  • Wanufacturing workers want to work for a company that cares about the environment
  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important

Technology

There is a common perception that manufacturing and technology are at odds with each other, but the truth is, the world of manufacturing is constantly evolving. Today’s employees demand to work for companies that embrace innovation—and new technologies are the best way to drive it.

Adopting new technologies isn’t just about staying “cool” or “relevant.” It’s about transforming entire industries and providing solutions for real-world problems. By investing in ethics and values and encouraging a culture of new thinking, we can ensure our company continues to be a leader in our industry.

Flexibility

Workers want flexibility. According to the survey, workers desire “flexible working hours”—a benefit that allows staff to adapt their work schedule to accommodate personal commitments and family obligations. Flexibility can mean different things for different people, but could include anything from a compressed workweek and flex time to job sharing and working remotely.

The desire for a flexible work schedule is understandable: Employees value their time outside of the office, whether they use it for family commitments, education endeavors or personal projects and relationships. In fact, in the survey results we see that many feel flexibility has benefits for employers as well—with over half (62 percent) believing that flexible hours would help increase their loyalty to the company that offered it.

Environment

Since manufacturing is often a dirty job, it might be surprising to hear that the environment is highly valued by these workers. In fact, 85% of manufacturing workers place significant importance on working for an environmentally conscious employer. This makes sense: if you’re part of the workforce that makes or transports products all day, you want to make sure those products are good for the planet.

Furthermore, 88% of manufacturing workers want to work for a company that makes environmentally friendly products, while 86% value working for a company that cares about the environment. For example, manufacturing employees may appreciate the opportunity to work on a product like solar panels or water filtration systems rather than plastic bags or oil pipelines. More generally speaking though, they just want their employer to have some sense of corporate social responsibility where sustainability is concerned.

Diversity and Inclusion

For many employees, the most important aspect of an employer’s diversity and inclusion efforts is how employees treat each other, both in and out of the workplace. The way that managers, supervisors and fellow employees treat one another has a great impact on employee morale. Workers want to feel that they can trust their supervisor to be fair. They also want to know that all workers are treated equally with regard to opportunities for advancement, pay raises or promotions, as well as job assignments.

Additionally, employees want to feel comfortable in their work environments—meaning that there should be no discrimination against anyone because of his or her race, age, gender or sexual orientation. And while current business trends have shifted towards leaner workforces operating more independently and with less supervision or oversight than historically popular hierarchical structures; diverse teams often operate more creatively and productively when compared to homogeneous groups.

Healthy work-life balance

Managing work and life outside of work is an important challenge for many of today’s manufacturing workers—and it’s one that their employers can help them with. This can take the form of flexible working hours, home-working, work-related childcare, annual leave, and sick leave.

In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Insight, 59% of Millennials in the US reported wanting to find a new job within two years if they weren’t able to balance their work and personal lives effectively. And 43% said they would be willing to accept lower pay for more flexibility. Having the option for remote working would make a potential job “more attractive” for 70% of respondents to a survey conducted by Robert Half Technology.

As you can see from this data, showing consideration for your employees’ personal lives will help them perform better at their jobs overall—it’s worth it!

Manufacturing employees want to work for an industry that supports them in the 3 major spheres of life; work, home, and society

Managing work and life outside of work is an important challenge for many of today’s manufacturing workers—and it’s one that their employers can help them with. This can take the form of flexible working hours, home-working, work-related childcare, annual leave, and sick leave.

In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Insight, 59% of Millennials in the US reported wanting to find a new job within two years if they weren’t able to balance their work and personal lives effectively. And 43% said they would be willing to accept lower pay for more flexibility. Having the option for remote working would make a potential job “more attractive” for 70% of respondents to a survey conducted by Robert Half Technology.

As you can see from this data, showing consideration for your employees’ personal lives will help them perform better at their jobs overall—it’s worth it!

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CONSULTING INTERVENTIONS

Merillot provides a range of consulting interventions that can assist companies better manage manufacturing and manufacturing workforces, in addition to broader operational management concepts:

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