Attracting younger workers to dirty jobs

I had an interesting meeting lately at a steel foundry where their goal was to make their foundry look, feel, and smell more like a machine shop or general production area. Foundries are not known for their cleanliness or their comfort. They are hot, loud, dark, sometimes smokey, and often sooty. This is a company that has been around for a long time, but they are starting to run into a problem that is likely common among many manufacturers: attracting the next generation of workers.

As the average age of workers in these types of industries begins to climb and more and more are beginning to leave the workforce, companies may be left with a void. Not only for the physical labor itself, but the knowledge, experience, and expertise. These companies may be willing to train employees, but some worry that they won’t even be able to do that if certain jobs are seen as, well, dirty.

“There aren’t many kids that graduate from school that want to come work in a foundry,” I was told.

So, how can you make these types of roles more appealing?

The foundry believes that a cleaner, brighter and safer work environment is one way to make these positions more attractive. The foundry is looking at a number of items, from ways to remove and capture dust and particulate, limiting exposure to volatile organic compounds, to adding more light,

Will, it work? They seem to think so. If anything, it will help to create a safer and healthier environment for their current employees.

Is your industry having to find unique ways to make certain jobs more attractive?

If you’re looking for ways to check for dust or particulate in your environment:

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