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As Economy Gains Momentum, Manufacturers Could Be Left Out of the Party

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Press release date: December 12, 2013

ThomasNet.com warns of “glass ceiling” from lackadaisical approach to engaging Generation Y; launches Job Board to help

New York, NY — Just as the U.S. jobless rate hits a five-year low, and companies project stronger growth, manufacturers are in danger of losing out on the upswing because of a lackadaisical recruitment and rebranding effort, according to research from ThomasNet.com.

A recent ThomasNet.com® Industry Market Barometer® (IMB) survey shows a troubling trend in the manufacturing industry: Despite an upward trajectory (63 % — nearly 2/3rds of the survey’s 1,029 manufacturing respondents – expect to grow in 2013), companies are not attracting Generation Y (18 – 32 years old) candidates to replace retiring Baby Boomers fast enough. With this generation projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, manufacturers need an aggressive plan to bring them in and teach them the business. Yet, eight out of ten respondents report that Generation Y represents a very small fraction of their employee base, and most don’t see that changing soon. The results surface a serious disconnect—manufacturers acknowledge there is a problem, but are not taking sufficient action to tackle it.

“North American manufacturing could be knocked out of its long-held, global leadership position if companies fail to attract enough people to keep up with increasing customer demand. They may even reverse some of the gains they have made bringing manufacturing jobs back from overseas. Long-term, a lack of attention to workforce-related issues will negatively impact the economy as well as their businesses,” said Paul Gerbino, Publisher, ThomasNet News®.

Part of the problem, according to Mr. Gerbino, is that many Millennials are either unaware of manufacturing as a career opportunity, or see this career as undesirable. At a time when 3-D printing, robotics, and other advances are making manufacturing a “hot technology sector,” they still see these jobs as “dirty, rote, grease under their fingernails positions,” he notes.

Indeed, nearly-three quarters of the IMB respondents believe that negative perceptions of the manufacturing profession are preventing younger people from joining forces with them. This comes at a time when more than 40 percent say they are hiring for positions ranging from engineering to production management.

“With hundreds of thousands of jobs going begging, it’s no exaggeration to say that North American manufacturers could soon be hitting a glass ceiling of their own making. They need to become advocates for their profession, and inject the ‘cool factor’ back into manufacturing. We are seeing great examples of companies that are taking matters into their own hands and doing just that, and their colleagues need a jumpstart,” he added.

ThomasNet.com just launched a new Job Board to provide these manufacturers with strong support. This employment and career-building website focuses exclusively on four key areas of industry: engineering, procurement, manufacturing/production operations, and sales/marketing. Entry-level job seekers and seasoned professionals alike can go there to search, qualify and apply for manufacturing positions posted by employers across North America.  Conversely, CEOs/general managers, human resources professionals and recruiters can quickly build a pool of well-qualified candidates who meet detailed, technologically-specific job requirements and who are more likely to succeed in the available positions.

Individuals who would like additional information should visit thomasnetjobs.com or email info@thomasnetjobs.com. For a free copy of the Industry Market Barometer report, please go to thomasnet.com/imb.

About ThomasNet.com®
ThomasNet.com, part of Thomas Industrial Network, Inc. is the Internet’s pre-eminent sourcing and supplier discovery and selection platform for OEM, MRO and other products and services. The platform serves procurement professionals, engineers, plant and facility management and other buyers from corporations, educational institutions, government agencies, the military and small businesses. It also serves manufacturers, distributors, and service companies throughout North America who want to connect and do business with these buyers. Buyers of industrial products and services can connect to ThomasNet News from ThomasNet.com.

Additionally, Thomas Industrial Network includes: the Navigator Platform, a proprietary technology that helps industrial companies leverage their product information and data to increase sales; and Enterprise Solutions that enable companies to create and manage digital product data which can be syndicated to a variety of platforms.







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