Keywords: Millennials, Baby Boomers, Aging Workforce.
For years, the industrial world has been talking about the aging of the workforce. At ARC Advisory Group's World Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida last month, participants in one packed, "standing room only" session discussed what their companies were doing to prepare for their older workers leaving the workforce. The question was simple: "How is the manufacturing industry preparing for the next generation of workers?"
Brooke Robertson, US DCS Modernization Project Manager at Momentive Specialty Chemicals, an epoxy manufacturer; and Mike Resetarits, Technical Director for Fractionation Research, Inc., an industry research organization that operates a commercial-scale fractionation unit, discussed their respective initiatives for bringing their younger workers up to speed.
Ms. Robertson and Mr. Resetarits were then joined in an open panel discussion by Ed Crawford, Security Team Lead for Chevron; Maurice Wilkins, VP Global Marketing for Yokogawa; and Peter Zornio, Chief Strategic Officer for Emerson Process Management. The presentations and panel discussion indicated that there are a number of different ways to approach this pressing problem.
The retiring generation, the "Baby Boomers," has certain characteristics that will be missed when they leave the workforce. The discussion suggests that perhaps the most missed aspect will be their experience. Due to this impending loss of experience, companies will need to put a combination of technologies, processes, and training in place to allow the new generation, the "Millennials," to be effective in assuming many of the jobs. The middle generation, the "Gen Xers," will also be impacted and, in many organizations, will be expected to fill leadership roles.
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