More Vacation, Free Lunch, & Onsite Gyms: Manufacturing's War to Woo Employees


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In an effort to hire and retain skilled employees in a tight labor market, manufacturers are changing how they recruit and retain the makers of the world. U.S. manufacturers have long boasted one of the highest percentages of workers eligible for employer-provided health benefits of any industry at 92 percent.  However, with unemployment hovering around 3%, employers are going beyond standard benefits and starting to offer the types of perks that might be seen on Silicon Valley tech campuses. Are free massages, car washes and onsite spas coming to your workplace? Unlikely. Instead, manufacturers are offering meaningful benefits to help workers gain valuable skills, plan for the future and be happier and more productive at work. Here are some of the best benefits offered by advanced manufacturers.

What do workers value more than extra pay? Time off.  

At companies like Aerojet Rocketdyne in Southern California, new employees start with three weeks of paid vacation—50% more than the 10-day average for Americans—in addition to a year-end in shut down period. Since vacations relieve stress and help prevent illness, this is an invaluable benefit. Plus, you can spend more time with your family and friends.

Get healthy on the company’s dime.

Along the same lines, modern manufacturers understand how important it is for employees and their families to be healthy. If you’re lucky enough to work at a company like SpaceX, the company provides sponsored gym memberships. Other companies offer things like state-of-the-art fitness centers, health coaching, and onsite doctors and dentists.

Get paid to advance your career.

If you want to be a rockstar at work, places like General Electric pay for professional development. Employees can take a course at one of the company’s leadership development centers or take classes online at BrilliantYou. At other companies like General Atomics, career development perks include tuition reimbursement.

Buy your dream home (or whatever’s on your wish list).

Employers like Northrop Grumman offer financial wellness and planning services. New car? Daughter’s wedding? Early retirement? Thanks to a competitive salary and financial planning services, you'll have the money to make it happen—whatever ‘it’ is.

Be generous... with the company’s money.

Modern manufacturers like Boeing give generously through the Dollars for Doers matching gifts program. Similarly, each year at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the company lets every employee decide where to donate $100 for STEM-related education. You can be a full-time employee and give back to your community.

Eat delicious food without leaving work.

At modern manufacturers like Denver-based WhiteWave Foods, employee dining options are convenient and delicious. Other manufacturers, like Devon Energy, offer subsidized cafeterias and gelato shops. Sure, retirement benefits are nice, but this perk might take the cake.

Bragging rights. Build things you’ll tell your grandkids about.

It’s not a real benefit, but it’s still one of the best parts of working at a company that makes real things. At companies like SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, CA, employees get to work with the most innovative rockets and rocket parts. A few states north, employees at Boeing’s aviation plant in WA get to produce 747s, 767s, 777s and 787s in the largest building in the world.

Find an Employer that Pays what You're Worth

Manufacturing companies are modernizing benefits to accommodate the needs of today’s workforce. You can build the most innovative products, make good money and eat delicious food without leaving work. You have the skills, talent and drive. It’s time to find an employer that pays you what you’re worth.

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Published on
August 6, 2018