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The Next Generation of Warehouse Workers

The new “roaring twenties”.

If you’re part of today’s labor force, congratulations. You haven’t had this much leverage in the job market in half a century. If you’re an employer, I feel your pain. Attracting and retaining top talent has never been more difficult. At the same time, a new generation is entering the workforce and the makeup of the labor pool will shift dramatically in the coming decade.

Reflecting on what lies ahead for the 2020s, I recently explored what’s next for the warehouse worker. While the new decade is off to a roaring start, uncertainly abounds. First and foremost, today’s workforce already looks remarkably different than what we remember just a few years ago. According to ManpowerGroup, Millennials will make up 35% of the global workforce this year, while Gen Z’s share will grow to 24%. This is impressive when considering the oldest members of this generation are still in their early 20s.

Who are these newest members of the workforce and what will it take for distributors to recruit and retain them?

React to attract

As noted in a recent study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, “aggregate employment levels in the warehousing industry will likely continue to rise over the next five to 10 years.” But with Baby Boomers retiring at a rate of about 10,000 each day – or almost 7 every minute – and the oldest Gen Xers already reaching their mid-50s, distributors must focus their attention on hiring younger Millennials and the incoming Gen Z workers. Doing so requires a different approach to recruiting than what you might be accustomed to today.

To continue reading this article, click here to go to the Other Voices section of Modern Materials Handling. This piece has been syndicated to four other publications, as well.