3 Ways to Attract Younger Generations to Careers in Construction

Nearly everyone working in construction is faced with the same problem...not enough skilled workers. The shortage is affecting design and construction professionals along with trade craftsmen. With the average construction worker age being in the mid-forties, the shortage is likely to become more acute as these workers begin retiring over the next 10-15 years.

Fine Tuning​ Your Hiring Skills for Generation Z

While construction companies are still focused primarily on recruiting millennials, the fact is this group is well into adulthood. They range in age from 23 to 38 and many already have an established career path. It makes sense, therefore, to focus recruitment efforts on the next generation - Generation Z - born between 1995 and 2010.

Experts say this group may prove to be more receptive to careers in construction than millennials. Gen Zers are more focused on making good financial decisions when choosing a career. In short, many Gen Zers are looking for alternative career paths that don’t require four-year degrees. With the high cost of college drowning so many of their peers in debt, Gen Zers see craft-related careers, such as those offered in construction, as commonsense options.

Here are three tips on how to successfully attract Generation Z to a career in the construction industry:

Emphasize the Benefits of Earn-While-You-Learn Job Training

Gen Zers seek good careers in skilled trades but have concerns about their lack of craft-related knowledge. Construction companies need to emphasize apprentice programs that can quickly progress a new employee to the level of a skilled tradesman (and higher pay).

Promote the Value of a Mentor

A study from research firm Barna Group indicated that 66% of Gen Zers expressed a desire to start a career before age 30 compared with 51% of millennials. While Gen Zers want to know about the perks of the job, potential income, and career advancement opportunities, knowing the company will assign a mentor to them early on is appealing. Explain how the mentorship program will work and how it will help the employee attain skills quickly and advance their career. Mentors can also be a crucial resource to help new employees understand the company’s workflows and processes and align with the business strategy more quickly.

At Cleveland Construction, we know the value of a strong mentoring program. New Generation Z employees can be matched to mentors and enrolled in an apprenticeship program to receive formal construction training that leads to a skilled trade.

Show Appreciation for the Gen Zer’s Technical Knowledge

This generation is digital savvy, having grown up with smartphones, tablets, social media, and virtual reality. Construction companies should show appreciation for any technical knowledge the applicant might possess that can add value to the company. Share with the applicant the technologies currently being used by the company (cloud-based systems, robotics, VR, BIM, etc.) and how they can contribute to the company’s future use of technology. It makes the applicant feel appreciated and valued for their knowledge and provides a picture of how they can quickly contribute to the company team.

Are you looking to start your career in construction? We can help you build a successful construction career through Cleveland Construction's Apprenticeship Program. We hold multiple Meet & Greet events explaining how our Apprenticeship Program works. Click Here to sign up to be notified when we’re holding our next Apprenticeship Meet and Greet in your area.