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A New Generation

During a nationwide labor shortage, it’s no surprise that the construction industry is feeling the effects. Projects have been delayed, firms are short staffed, and skilled tradespeople are especially hard to come by. It’s important now— more than ever — that the construction industry actively focuses on recruiting Gen Z and millennial workers.

There are a few key strategies that local firms can implement to attract a new generation of workers to the industry we know and love.

Offer Flexibility

The pandemic spurred widespread home-working arrangements, which shone the spotlight on work-life balance like never before. Although flexible work guidelines aren’t something our industry has entirely figured out yet, it’s key for attracting new workers. Researchers from Marcum LLP found that millennial employees preferred jobs with flexible work hours. Priya Kapila, compensation practice leader at FMI Corp, explained it to Construction Dive like this: “employees in their early 20s may place less value on retirement benefits, profit sharing and other areas that contractors have traditionally advertised to candidates.” Flexibility continues to be an important selling point for young job seekers, and finding a way to provide this will attract the Gen Z and millennial cohort.

Start Early

Positioning construction as a valuable career path early on is beneficial to attract new workers down the road. Marketing specifically to the younger demographic is one way to do this. Local outreach to middle schools, high schools, and youth programs can help firms build relationships with the next generation, showcase the benefits of the industry, and perhaps spark a new wave of interest in construction. While this is a long-term strategy, our industry as a whole would benefit from reaching future workers early on.

Recruitment Tools

There are several paths, roles, and opportunities available when it comes to the construction industry— many of which are under-advertised and not well known. Educating prospective workers on the range of opportunities in the trades is key. Highlighting the potential for entrepreneurial endeavors may interest some, while the use of new technology in the field may intrigue others. Changing recruiting strategies to meet the wants and needs of millennials and Gen Z’ers is essential to attract (and hopefully hire) new talent in the younger generation.


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