Millennials in the plant

The industrial workforce is changing, and we need to give incoming workers the skills and motivation they need to succeed.

By Kevin T. Higgins

Grace never has been a hallmark of the baby boomers, so it should come as no surprise that they are not quietly riding into the sunset of retirement. Younger workers waiting to move up will have to pry the parking passes out of their cold, dead hands.

Reluctance to step aside can be found in all occupations, manufacturing included. The median age of the manufacturing workforce spiked to 46.1 years in 2013, up from 40.5 years in 2000, statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Labor indicate. For high-skilled manufacturing workers, the average age is 57. Thin investment portfolios are the only thing preventing them from plotting their retirements.

Retire they will, of course, or eventually leave the break room feet first.

Retirement-related turnover always has been a fact of life, though the current volume of U.S. workers entering their golden years is unprecedented. A 2010 study by the Pew Research Center calculated 11,476 Americans will turn 65 each day for the next 20 years (a somewhat lower figure of 10,000 was calculated in the Social Security Administration’s Annual Performance Plan for fiscal-2012).

To learn more about millennials, read “Working With The Next Generation of Plant Pros” from Food Processing.

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