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The Next Generation of Leaders in the Workforce

factory with aluminum frame

We’ve given you a glimpse of what the Millennial generation thinks about manufacturing, and now it’s time for Millennials to fill the shoes of the leaders and managers that came before them. According to the Manufacturing Leadership blog, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and the manufacturing sector will be looking forward to these fresh-faced employees to lead the world in production.

But, it turns out, Millennials think a lot differently than their predecessors. They have higher expectations that the companies they choose to work for will play a more active and innovative role in solving many of society’s problems, like climate change.

They also expect that their employers will cultivate a highly innovative, collaborative culture, and that they will be provided with ample and early opportunities to grow into leadership roles. This is mindset of our next generation of business and manufacturing leaders.

According to a global survey of almost 8,000 Millennials recently conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, young people believe that, in addition to delivering financial results, corporations have an obligation and an opportunity to provide innovative solutions to what they perceive as major societal problems such as climate change, resource scarcity, and income inequality. Because they are more involved in volunteer programs and connecting with people through the internet, it should come as no surprise that Millennials are more sympathetic to the needs of others.

Future leaders in business and manufacturing will have a great opportunity to solve these problems and they also expect the companies they work for to collaborate with government to solve those problems. These issues need all available help to create solutions and the government is the best resource possible, as long as Millennials are involved in the collaborative mix in solving these issues.

As the Manufacturing Leadership blog notes, fifty percent of Millennials also want their company to hold a higher standard of ethical practices for their business. They don’t want to work for companies that try to wiggle out of paying taxes, pollute the environment or treat their workers unfairly. Young people want the opportunities to become leaders in their respective fields and they are looking to businesses that provide leadership training.

The technological boom that has occurred since the invention of the internet has also spurred Millennials’ interest in innovation, too. More than three quarters of Millennials surveyed said, when deciding which companies to work for, they are strongly influenced by how innovative the organization is. If a company is willing to work with other competitors and their products, universities and other academic organizations, even the government itself, Millennials want to be onboard.

But sadly, Millennials aren’t convinced that today’s businesses and corporations are living up to their expectations. They believe most businesses are not doing enough to solve many of society’s most pressing problems. Roughly two-thirds of Millennials responding to the survey said the outlook and attitudes of management—such as the reluctance to take risks–are barriers to innovation. They are impatient with the leadership training they are receiving with roughly half agreeing that their organization does all it can to develop their skills as a leader.

Are young people setting their expectations too high? Should they be complacent with whatever businesses and corporations are willing to pay and train them? We don’t think so!

Millennials are demanding this type of accommodation, or they will leave, often to work for themselves. The Deloitte survey showed that roughly 70% of Millennials expect at some point to work independently rather than being employed within a traditional organizational structure. That’s 70% of the incoming workforce that is going to walk away from traditional businesses to make their own path in the world and live up to these lofty goals that they’ve made for themselves.

The bottom line is this: businesses that are willing to align their cultures to the values and expectations of Millennials will enhance their pipelines of next-generation leaders. They’ll become the next leaders in innovation and technology, manufacturing and production and they will be more competitive in the long run. They’ll be on the frontlines to solving the major problems of society like climate change and income inequality. And they will be creating leaders in their Millennial employees—who can then pass on these practices and ideals to the generations to come!

photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

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