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Generation Now Leadership: Manufacturing’s Young Talent Steps Forward

Aug. 24, 2023
A talent management guide from IndustryWeek. We asked young manufacturers to share how they progressed into leadership positions. What we learned: Many different paths open doors to career advancement and positions of greater responsibility.

The manufacturing industry has made it clear: We need more young people in manufacturing. A well-documented exodus by workers approaching retirement, compounded by early exits spurred by COVID-19, has left a raft of vacancies. Moreover, fresh talent spurs fresh ideas.

The need is everywhere, from the shop floor to the quality department, from the sales desk to the engineering lab, from the plant manager to the C-suite executive. The influx of new talent has needs as well. For information, for guidance, for opportunities to grow in their current roles and advance into positions of greater responsibility.

In this climate, IndustryWeek launched a series aimed at young professionals looking to lead. We didn't offer advice elicited from seasoned manufacturing leaders (although they can be an excellent source of advice). Nor did we share results from polls or questionnaires (which may also provide important data).

Instead, we went straight to the sources, speaking to manufacturing leaders still early in their careers. We asked them: How did you do it? How did you get to that position so fast? What advice can you give me?

Among the prompts for this series was a Reddit post focused on manufacturing and the supply chain. A Reddit user proposed a question regarding manufacturing and the supply chain, and the respondent was a manufacturing leader under age 30. With his response, the Reddit thread quickly took a turn to, "How did you achieve that position at such a young age?"

Similar and follow-up questions quickly rolled in from young manufacturers hungry for insights into leadership and career advancement. While Reddit may have gotten the thought process rolling, we at IndustryWeek wanted to assist as well. To that end, we reached out to young manufacturing leaders and asked them to share their stories of "how I got here." The restrictions were few: We were looking for leaders 35 or younger, and they had to work in manufacturing across any of the myriad functions that comprise this business.

They responded, and we did as well. IndustryWeek editors collaborated on a series of articles about these young leaders, which we've collected in this IndustryWeek eBook, "Generation Now Leadership: Manufacturing's Young Talent Steps Forward." Thank you for reading about the young people who are helping to shape the future of manufacturing.

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