The historic images are iconic. Young, strong, men working at shipyards, in front of foundries spewing heat and flame, on top of steel beams while constructing the tallest buildings in the world.
Today, the face of the steel industry has changed. It’s no longer just a man’s profession, as Pacesetter’s CEO, Aviva Leebow Wolmer, proves, and the heavy lifting is often done, or at least assisted, by machines.
Still, steel needs the same thing all other industries want, the thing we used to have by the thousands: young workers.
Because young workers aren’t just the laborers of the past, they’re the leaders of tomorrow. They’re also the largest workforce in the country.
The Pew Research Center defines millennials as the 75.4 million people in the U.S. who were between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015. That makes them the nation’s largest, living, generation.
How to attract the best of brightest of this group?
First believe in them. Millennials have gotten a bit of bad press, and some of it may be true. But they also choose careers based on their passions and beliefs.
The Atlantic reported, in 2015, that 57% of younger Americans said their number one career priority was “was doing something that they found enjoyable or making a difference in society.” So be passionate about their passion, and represent your company as being a great place to work– a place that you are passionate about.
Then, offer training. There’s clearly a huge, immediate, advantage to hiring people who have, as part of their culture, technological savvy and comfort with transition. But there’s also industry and office knowledge that they will need to succeed. While younger workers don’t have years of bad habits, they may also be stymied by existing systems. Actual skills training, as well as mentorship, will give the new workers a great chance at contributing to the company’s overall success.
Flexibility, both with generational differences and schedules, is also mandatory when trying to attract millennials. They have been raised that it’s possible to do just about anything, anytime and anywhere. So, why should 9-to-5 appeal to them? While it’s true that some work must be physically done on site, the ability to think creatively about shifts and schedules will go a long way towards attracting and retaining younger workers.
Nothing stays the same, not in the steel industry or in any industry. But with the help of this new generation, and great guidance, mentoring and outside-the-box thinking, the future will be as good, if not better, than history looks in those iconic photos.