This video from Walker Reynolds presents an interesting statistic about young people quitting jobs:

The turn over rate of Gen Z and Millennial employees at traditional manufacturing companies is 49% at six months (not at one year!). At more digital companies like Tesla, Amazon and Volkswagen (North America), the turn over rate is about 11% at one year. The latter is in line with the average turn over rate of previous generations across industries.

Walker Reynolds cites a couple of reasons for this troubling phenomenon in the video. As I have quit three full-time software jobs in manufacturing in the span of five years, I want to share my perspective:

According to my experience, the digital infrastructure and general awareness at aluminium manufacturers in Europe is about 20 years behind other industries like pharma. This makes it hard to develop a solution from within: the company is not equipped with the necessary digital skills to diagnose a software problem and develop a suitable solution. And that’s okay. After all, it’s not their core business.

I believe the smarter thing to do is to stand on the shoulders of giants by copying what has worked for other industries. This required job-hopping because this knowledge could only be gathered by working at companies that are closer to the bleeding edge of digital innovation. Today I see a lot of potential for solving time-old manufacturing problems with digital solutions that stood the test of time in other industries.