Science & Technology

Only 6% of Gen Z are considering a career in manufacturing

A new Barclays report reveals that a career in manufacturing does not appeal to the next generation of workers, with only 6% of Generation Z considering a career in the sector

Only 6% of Gen Z are considering a career in manufacturing. Source:

New research from Barclays Corporate Banking shows that only 6% of Generation Z (16-23 year- olds) in the UK are considering a career in manufacturing. Almost half (47%) state this is because the career path does not appeal to them, or they do not believe they have the skills required (35%) for the role.

Instead, young people aspire towards careers in digital, technology and IT, with manufacturing ranking only 17th out of 19 potential career paths. One reason why young people are reluctant to take up a career in manufacturing, is that there are misconceptions around the skills that workers can develop: only one third (33%) of young people believe a career in manufacturing will provide them with advanced technology skills. This is despite the fact that advanced technology is a key driver of growth for UK manufacturing companies. Furthermore, when asked about what they want from their future career, young people say that the opportunity to constantly build their skills (40%) is one of their top priorities. This shows that although a career in manufacturing could fulfill their future job aspirations, young people are unaware of the opportunities that the sector provides.

The new Barclays Corporate Banking Manufacturing report, A New Image for Manufacturing, surveyed 2,000 16-23-year-olds to understand how perceptions of manufacturing have changed, and 500 manufacturing decision makers to reveal what businesses have been doing to recruit new employees, and upskill their existing workforce to use new technologies.

Many manufacturers recognize that there is a perception barrier to recruitment. Almost two-fifths (39%) of the businesses surveyed admit that perceptions of careers in manufacturing have become worse over the past 20 years.

Manufacturers have tried a variety of strategies to overcome recruitment challenges in the past five years, including launching apprenticeship schemes (28%), forging partnerships with universities (19%) and further education colleges (15%) as well as marketing on social media (27%).

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