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By 2025, three-quarters of the workforce will be made up by millennials; those born between about 1980 and the early 2000s. This generation in particular (many born in the Thatcher era) sees manufacturing as less attractive and less cutting edge than other employment sectors.

Luring and retaining talent in an unpopular sector is a major challenge for manufacturers. “The dominant expectation of [millennials] is for fulfilling roles and career development. Other things found to be of importance are work–life balance, opportunities for longer periods of time off, the working environment and organisational values, a need for challenge, stretch and change, the organisation’s approach to social responsibility, having motivating and inspirational managers, and having opportunities to work from home.” Martin and Whiting

Manufacturing is anything but boring but if it is to attract the talent that will fuel productivity and innovation then some re-alignment, of what employment in manufacturing means, is needed.