Manufacturers are also working to address well-being by transforming the physical working environment. Increased investments in this area include the actual physical space and the tools, equipment, and safety measures that are part of the work environment.
The study drew attention to the relevance of purpose-driven work and the value most employees place on connecting their work with their company’s vision. According to one surveyed executive, the messaging on their company’s mission and purpose seems more vital to today’s recruits than ever before. Younger workers generally want to know that they are contributing positively to something bigger than themselves and that they are making a difference.
Analysis of our study results bear this out: Close to half of those surveyed who agreed that work is an integral part of the experience responded that alignment and adaptability of work to the company mission, values, and purpose are important to them. Further, several executives interviewed perceive that millennial and Generation Z workers are increasingly focused on climate issues and the environmental implications of manufacturing and appreciate company awareness of these issues.
Deloitte’s analysis of employee testimonials confirms that having a purpose and making an impact are two influential factors contributing to job satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. According to several executives surveyed, the pandemic has only strengthened this notion—people are proud to make products used by frontline workers.
DEI and belonging
As highlighted in our previous DEI research on the industry, manufacturing companies are increasingly focused on bolstering representation of women and other racially and ethnically diverse people in the workforce.15 They recognize that more diversity and balanced gender representation are likely to expand the available talent pool. Indeed, 84% of the surveyed manufacturing executives felt that their company is effective in fostering an equitable and inclusive environment for a new hire, but also acknowledge that more work needs to be done.
A successful DEI strategy entails that all workers across populations and identities are empowered to be their authentic self within the organization and feel safe, encouraged, and accepted within the work environment. Our study highlights employees’ growing focus on DEI at the workplace—the ability to be their authentic self was selected as one of the most important factors by one-third of the surveyed workforce. Deloitte’s recent research, The equity imperative, explains ways to promote equity in the workplace, and shows that 67% of US job seekers report that a diverse workforce is important to them when considering a job offer.16
Appealing to the next generation
More than half of the 18–24-year-olds surveyed in our manufacturing perception study indicated they are looking to switch jobs (figure 10), which could increase the pool of potential recruits for manufacturers. This cohort is less excited about the prospect of a career in manufacturing,17 but flexibility and a focus on more digital and technical skills—for instance, the opportunity to work in a smart factory environment—are likely to make the industry more attractive to them.