How can you attract younger generations to maintenance jobs?
In 2018, 53% of smart manufacturing jobs were vacant, according to the Deloitte Skills Gap in Manufacturing Study. This is especially true for maintenance operations across industries. The problem continues to worsen as Baby Boomers retire. The next large generation of workers to attract is Millennials who now represent 35% of the global workforce and are expected to make up to 75% by 2025 according to the Wikipedia article: Generations in the Workforce. This shift can worsen the labor shortage issues if companies don’t embrace changes to attract and retain these workers.
Changing Skills Requirements
Industry 4.0 technologies are changing the nature of maintenance and repair jobs. New technologies such as sensors and “smart” machines require new skills to take advantage of the data to diagnose and repair assets. Technicians need to be able to implement both physical and software-based maintenance and repair activities.
While Generation X and Baby Boomers can often struggle with new technologies, the younger Millennials (Generations Y) and Generation Z are fully accustomed to technology and depend on it as part of their lives and work. These younger generations can help companies transition to these new technologies.
Many of these new digital technologies require a significant change in work processes to gain the productivity and quality improvement benefits. This change management requirement has held back many maintenance organizations from taking advantage of Industry 4.0 technologies. This problem will only get worse with the rapid advancement of digitization technologies that are moving the maintenance function from reactive to preventive to predictive.
Changing work processes can be difficult, especially for the older generations who can be resistant to change. By attracting the younger generation, Organizations can help the adoption of new processes and be more responsive to the continual technology improvement opportunities.
How to Attract the Younger Generation
First, it is essential to understand the different capabilities, preferences and perspective of these younger generations:
- They are digitally native (and expect no less at work).
- They are known to switch jobs (and companies) if they don’t see the opportunity to improve their skillsets.
- They are hard-working, resourceful and imaginative – ready to take on and solve new problems and learn new technologies.
Once you have put yourself in their position, consider how work can change to attract and retain these workers:
- Go mobile. The younger generation was raised using computers and the internet. They expect to be always connected and have access to information wherever they are. Replacing paper-based maintenance processes with mobile devices will meet a basic expectation of these generations. They can also be charged to help drive the adoption of mobile workflows with their fellow technicians. This would be a valuable job challenge for the younger technician while helping the organization to quickly gain the cost savings and productivity benefits of digital mobile transformation.
- Adopt Industry 4.0 technologies: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Process automation, Robotization, Machine Learning and more. Empower your younger generation employees to learn these new technologies and support the redefinition of maintenance work to fully utilize the investments. For the worker, this provides the work challenge and continual skills development they seek. And with Industry 5.0 coming, this puts your company and these workers in a position to take advantage of the endless stream of new technology innovations.
- Select digitization technologies that can be easily adapted. Technologies that can support modifications for continual improvement or be changed quickly to sudden needs will provide organizational agility. At the same time, this flexibility provides an opportunity for your younger generation workers to play an active role in process improvement as part of their job. For example, they can contribute ideas that can automate routine, manual actions improving their own job quality and that of their peers.
How Sigga Can Assist You in this Process
Implementing new technologies in maintenance operations is complex and constantly changing. We can partner with you to overcome these challenges with proven digitization and mobile solutions with experienced deployment teams. Not only will you gain significant operational efficiencies, you will also make your maintenance jobs more attractive for hiring and retaining younger generation technicians and planners.
- Sigga Mobile EAM is a proven mobile solution designed to digitize the activities of the maintenance and repair worker. The solution replaces tedious, manual paper-based processes with everything the maintenance worker needs in a mobile device while in the field or plant including data from smart technologies. Younger workers will be quick to adopt new workflows given the native mobile UI and high performance data exchange for real-time data access.
- Sigga Planning & Scheduling enables the planner to replace tedious spreadsheet work with a solution to automatically create a baseline schedule for maintenance and repair activities. This allows the planner to focus their time on finessing the schedule with ad hoc requirements and making their own value-added inputs. The solution also uniquely allows for the creation of custom rules to further automate repetitive inputs. This provides the resourceful and imaginative planner the ability to contribute to the quality of their job and the efficiency of the organization.
Talk to our consultants and learn about how we can assist in the digital transformation of your company and in turn improve the attractiveness of your maintenance operations jobs for the next generations.