Despite it being the third largest sector in the UK, only 8% of school leavers want to work in the manufacturing industry, a report published by snack food company Mondelez International has found.
In contrast, 26% of young people would work in marketing and media, and 29% in fashion and retail.
The study of 1,600 16 to 25-year-olds found employers are finding it difficult to recruit young people with the advanced technical STEM skills they need.
Mondelez International HR director UK and Ireland Diane Tomlinson said she's "extremely disappointed" to discover young people are not interested in a career in manufacturing.
She said "disagrees" with the perception that the sector is not worth considering.
The report found 45% of young people admit to having limited knowledge about the sector.
Some 73% think that a desk job would be better paid and 39% said a manufacturing job would be physically demanding, the study found.
Neil Chapman, director of UK chocolate manufacturing at Mondelez International, said: "The industry and Government need to work together to get young people enthusiastic about manufacturing again.
"Schools and universities also need to equip young people with the practical skills manufacturers need."