Making Manufacturing “Cool” for Recruiting Young Talent

According to ThomasNet’s most recent Industry Market Barometer report, the manufacturing industry is heavily populated by baby boomers who are at or nearing retirement age. Of its survey respondents, 78% described themselves as 45-65 years old or older. If you’re a manufacturer, you already know this and you know what a problem this can be for your company in the coming years.

Part of the problem is that millenials don’t see manufacturing as “cool.” Manufacturing companies still fight the public’s perception that manufacturing is old and stodgy. According to the ThomasNet IMB Survey, 73% of those surveyed say that negative perceptions influence young people to disregard manufacturing as a career path.

To recruit young talent, you need to change this negative perception. Here’s one example of a company doing it right.

Recruiting In a Digital Space

Emerson is a $24 billion global manufacturing company that has been around since 1890. One of their most recent challenges has been recruiting the next generation of engineers. Emerson’s digital presence helps change the negative perception of manufacturing companies while recruiting this sought after young talent. Just look at their “Careers” page on their website:

Emerson Careers

What works?

  • Eye-catching images with quotes from young employees explaining why they love their job give the company a fresh, young image.
  • Employee profiles highlight a younger workforce speaking openly and honestly about their jobs.
  • Text is used sparingly, only to communicate information that would interest a younger workforce, like MBA program information.

Emerson also sees YouTube as a perfect opportunity to not only improve its image, but also attract talent.

Emerson YouTube1  Emerson YouTube2

What works?

  • Dedicated “Meet Our Next Generation of Leaders” playlist.
  • Videos of young professionals talking about their experiences at Emerson in a natural way.
  • Fun “We Are Family” video that highlights the vibrancy and youthfulness of the company.

The company’s LinkedIn presence is one of the best around. The careers section is inviting, interesting and authentic to the brand.

Emerson LinkedIn

What works?

  • Can’t-miss “Next Generation of Leaders” headline.
  • Main video of Emerson’s CEO explaining the company’s “Passion for Progress.”
  • “Heard Around Emerson” quotes from current employees.

The most striking thing to me about these examples is that throughout all of them, Emerson isn’t inventing a “cool” persona. Its story is being told by actual employees, which helps Emerson humanize its brand and come off as authentic in doing so. The biggest takeaway from Emerson’s digital presence for recruiting: Be authentic to your brand, and you’ll attract young talent that understands you and wants to work with you.


Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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