(Originally published in The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group®) Standards Communique - August 2019)
Let’s face it, the employee generation gap in many manufacturing companies is now a gaping chasm. Most of the current leaders and managers are baby boomers or gen X’ers who left school or graduated from university when the latest tech was a Walkman and they were lining up to see the first Star Wars movie in bell bottom jeans and a mustard sweater.
Fast forward 42 years to 2019 and fresh university grads with brand new degrees have permanent grooves in their fingers and worn-down thumbs from persistent smartphone usage. They stream the latest Avengers movies on Stan, bleary eyed at 2am on their everything device, whilst scrolling Instagram and ignoring Facebook.
The expectation in 1977 was to get a job and keep it. Work your way up, be loyal and get a gold watch on retirement. Now, the average tenure in a job is less than four years, with only 28% of millennials expecting to stay with their current organisation beyond 5 years (Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018).
Employee expectations have evolved just as much technology in the last four decades. Manufacturing leaders are no doubt trying to stay ahead - investing in the latest greatest systems, lean processes and robotic technology. However, they are often missing the key ingredient that drives innovation - engaged people.
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Written by: Sarah Jane Miatt