Blog Post |

Attracting Gen Z and Millennial Workers to Your Supply Chain Job Openings

Dan Johnston

June 30, 2021

Back in 2016, Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials make up 35% of the U.S. labor force today.

Gen Z is right behind them. According to research from ManPowerGroup, Gen Z made up 24% of the global workforce in 2020.

The workforce is ever-changing. To reach today’s audience, you’ll need to adapt your recruiting strategies. Millennials and Gen Zs care about technology, efficiency, and purpose in different ways than prior generations.

If you’re hiring for frontline jobs in an industrial setting, you’re already fighting an uphill battle. It’s an incredibly competitive marketplace and turnover is at an all-time high. To fill jobs, you need to be attracting Gen Z and Millennial workers to your openings. But what exactly do you need to do differently to reach these younger groups?

Thankfully, there are a few strategies you can try to better attract Gen Z and Millennial workers to your critical openings.

Clearly articulate your company’s mission and purpose

Younger generations are incredibly motivated by the purpose and mission of the companies they work for. According to a report by American Express, 81% of Millennials said that a successful business needs to have a genuine purpose. Not only that, but 30% would compromise their career advancement goals to work for such a company.

All this is to say: you need to clearly articulate your company’s mission and purpose. Why are you around? What are you doing to better the world?

Promote how you use innovative technology

When young people think of manufacturing or supply chain jobs, they may imagine traditional assembly lines and crowded factories. They’re unfamiliar with how much goes on behind the scenes. In many companies, workers learn technical expertise and have access to 3D printing, data monitoring, and other innovative technologies.

Sharing how cutting edge the environment is may help you recruit Gen Z. According to a survey conducted by Dell Technologies, 80% of Gen Zers aspire to work with cutting edge technology, while 91% say technology would influence job choice among similar employment offers.

Share the full picture of the career paths available

When people apply for a supply chain job, they want to make sure they’ll be able to pay their bills. But they’ll also want to understand if there are any opportunities for growth when they join. Will they remain at the position they enter forever? Is there a clear path to bigger and better roles… which come with higher wages and bigger benefits?

For example, an investigation by the New York Times found that Amazon has few opportunities for advancement, as one manager may oversee 100 workers. With this ratio, it’s unlikely that most workers will ever be promoted into a management role.

In your job postings, be sure to share the full picture of the career paths you have available. This will make your organization more attractive to Millennials and especially Gen Zers who are at the start of their careers.

Use easily understandable language

Gen Z and Millennials want to be part of organizations that understand them. They don’t want to parse corporate jargon to find out the details of the job. That’s why it’s more important than ever to present your job openings with easily understandable language.

Here is an example of what we mean:

Instead of saying,

Join a technologically robust and innovative manufacturer with a proven, pro-active track record of delivering for customers. You’ll be responsible for delivering on our key initiatives to help bolster our reputation.

Try saying,

Join an innovative manufacturer with a proven track record of delivering for customers.  You’ll be responsible for assisting in our facility– packing and unpacking boxes, coordinating team members, and updating supply lists. 

Notice how the easily understandable language not only feels friendly, but also helps you understand what the job actually is.

Ensure that the application process is seamless

Younger generations have grown up in a world of smartphones. They’re accustomed to having things move quickly. When they buy from their favorite brands, they expect a stellar customer experience. As such, you want to make sure that your application process is as seamless as possible.

Here are a few ways to ensure the application process is as smooth as possible:

  • Make it mobile-friendly. Upwards of 90% of Millennials and Gen Zers own a smartphone compared with 68% of Baby Boomers, according to Pew Research Center. Phones are often used instead of a laptop, so make sure that your application experience is mobile-friendly. You want applicants to be able to apply quickly from wherever they are.
  • Proactively communicate. Younger generations are used to constant updates from the companies they interact with. They’re used to knowing exactly when an order ships or when their UberEats order is on the way. Be sure to provide proactive communication. Let them know when their application has been received, and follow up with them throughout the process.
  • Say goodbye to the traditional resume. Many supply chain applicants don’t have a traditional resume on hand, so don’t require one. Most software allows you to collect the information you need during the application process.

Move through the process quickly

Not only do Millennials and Gen Zers expect a seamless process, but they also want things to move quickly. The world today places many demands on our attention span. If you don’t move quickly, it’s highly likely that a swiftly-moving competitor will scoop up the talent you desperately need.

When you move fast, you show candidates that you care about their time. This reflects positively on you as an employer. If you value their time during the application process, you’re likely to value their time once they sign on for a job.

A swift process is not only best for job-seekers, but it’s better for you, as well. When the process is efficient, you’ll save money on the time resources that went into keeping a lengthy process on track.

Conclusion: Make it easy on your applicants

If you want to attract Gen Z and Millennial workers to your job openings, then you’re going to need to strategically position your company, as well as make the process easy on your applicants. Job-seekers need to get a quick picture of who you are, what you do, and what the job would be. Then, they need to be able to quickly fill out an application wherever they are. Finally, it’s on you to communicate throughout the process so that you keep their attention and interest.


Dan Johnston

Dan Johnston, Co-Founder & CEO | dan@workstep.com