According to research undertaken by New Street Consulting Group
, the manufacturing industry in the UK has the lowest percentage of millennial directors of any major sector, with just 7.6% of directors being born after 1980.
The average percentage of millennial directors across all major sectors in the UK is now 11.8%, with leading sectors including utilities with 16.7% and retail with 14.7%.
New Street Consulting says that without younger talent ‘on the board’, manufacturing companies may lack ‘proper diversity’ at the top, opening them to risks such as becoming slow to adopt key forms of new technology that may be critical for increased productivity, such as artificial intelligence.
“Failure to attract new graduates into the manufacturing industry will exacerbate this talent shortage in the coming years, leaving some manufacturers facing problems with succession planning for their senior leadership.
“Many graduates and younger people do not find the manufacturing sector as attractive as sectors like financial services and technology. Manufacturers now compete with these sectors for top engineering graduates, who are often swayed by their bigger renumeration packages and more progressive image as employers.”
The firm points out that manufacturing businesses in Germany face much less of a problem in attracting young talent. Its successful manufacturing sector benefits from a much higher proportion of engineering graduates; with 26% of all degrees conferred in 2017 being to engineering students, double the rate of the UK, Germany has a significantly larger talent pool for manufacturers to draw from.
New Street says many UK manufacturing businesses could benefit from overhauling how they attract young talent into their businesses: “They should look at changing their image as employers to tackle the perception many millennials have of the sector, which is that many manufacturing businesses are old-fashioned.
“Manufacturing companies need to better showcase the exciting developments in their sector to give them a stronger chance of attracting young talent. This could be done by highlighting the ways in which their sector is pioneering cutting edge technology and leading the way on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) issues.”