Millennials in the Manufacturing & LBM Workplaces: Part 1

By | October 27, 2015

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. — Milton Berle

Millennials: the term is everywhere lately.  This newly matured generation, raised in a high-tech environment, faces and presents new challenges in hiring and employment.  Many traditional advertising, recruiting, hiring, training and retention practices are falling by the wayside, leaving companies short of the skilled help they need to stay competitive.  At Evergreen Recruiters, we’re keeping up with the latest in manufacturing and building materials trends, and we’d like to share our learning with our current and potential clients.

Our first article in the series presents many of the social and economic factors causing the need to attract and keep skilled millennial talent in the building materials and manufacturing industries.  In following articles, we’ll be focusing on millennials themselves: how to engage, educate and ultimately retain them.

A History of Hiring – 1940s


In post-WWII America, the hiring, training and firing process was relatively simple. Applicants answered newspaper ads, showed up at your door, or perhaps called about a job opening.

Benefits were relatively few, consisting of pensions, retirement programs and, increasingly after the 1940s, health care plans.

Workplace training was on-the-job as needed, and consisted mostly of experienced help showing new hires how to get things done.


—Widespread institutional building materials training did not occur in trade schools until the 1950s.


Vocational training programs would increase in scope and breadth through the 1960s and 1970s.

A history of job training: the 1960s

The Rise of Secondary Career Compensation

—As companies began to benefit from consolidated training processes, increased profits allowed companies to expand and diversify the compensation they provided their employees:

  • —401(k)
  • —Health Care & Insurance
  • —Paid Leave
  • —Discount Programs
  • —Family Benefits
  • —“Cafeteria” Flexible Plans

1980s: The Computer Age

—In the 1970s and 1980s, technology began to streamline and improve office and manufacturing practices on a national scale. Few companies were operating without at least some computer assistance.

From our Millennials and Manufacturing series: photo of a 1980s office with computers.

1990s: Internet Era

—Generation X harnessed a computer-driven approach with the advent of the World Wide Web. Building materials companies were able to find, place and train talent even more efficiently, while offering increasingly competitive compensation to attract and retain the workforce.


A New Millennium in Industry

—Websites became convenient portals for company marketing, hiring, commerce and internal operations. For a while, they were almost solely responsible for helping America run at optimal speed.



The Social Media Era

With the arrival of the 2000s, changes have taken place in workforce hiring, training and culture.

Social media, millennials, and the hiring process. A blog series for manufacturers and building materials companies.

The End of an Era: the Decline of Baby Boomer Dominance

Baby boomers are leaving the manufacturing and building materials industries in increasing numbers, leaving a large skill gap in their place.

—15 million fewer baby boomers are employed in all American industries than they were 10 years ago.

—At the same time millennials – those born between the early 1980s and 2000s – have seen ascendance to prominent positions in the nation’s workforce without significant presence or skills in the building materials industry.

Millennial skills gap

—This significantly impacts the ability of companies to operate at peak capacity, with skill gaps forming at all levels.


How can companies cultivate and benefit from a skilled labor pool? Our second article explains millennial challenges and how companies can reach out.