Will the Construction Industry See Gen Z Join Its Workforce?
Career choices have changed throughout each generation based on their values and experiences. Each year there are more and more young people joining the labor force. Those born in 2000, known as Gen Z, are now 20 years old and are either going to college or getting a job.
But as Americans continue to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, there seems to be a sweeping reality check for many centennials (another term for Gen Z) on their career choices. Concrete form rental companies, construction firms, and other supply companies are wondering whether or not centennials will be choosing the construction industry as their career pick in light of instability in the economy and technology changes.
Here’s what construction experts think will happen over the next couple of years.
Centennials Want Stability
The previous generation, known as millennials, was focused on attending college, getting a degree, and pursuing whatever career they could dream of. This was a pivot from the boomer generation that didn’t have as many opportunities to go to college and chose to learn trades like plumbing, landscaping, and construction which would include basic knowledge on concrete forms.
When Gen Z came along, their upbringing was quite different. Many centennials witnessed first-hand as their parents lost money and lifesavings in the stock market collapse of 2008. They also have observed their older siblings drowning in debt, stuck with low-paying jobs. These experiences have created a desire for job security and living stability.
Now with stability as a prime driver for Gen Z, many are becoming interested in trade jobs. In fact, with COVID-19 recently shutting down restaurants and small businesses, the service and trade industry was deemed essential and is still thriving, relatively, in the midst of a pandemic.
Centennials are picking up on this message and also realizing that college (and all the student loans that come with it) are not necessary for a construction career. Many could start out making 50-60K a year, which is definitely appealing to young people looking for job security and looking to make a great wage.
Technology is Encouraging Centennials
There’s no doubt that Gen Z loves technology. They love it so much that it may still be deterring many from entering the construction labor force. Why is this? For one, the construction career path comes across as archaic in a world of technology. It still requires hands-on labor, and most firms haven’t adapted the use of technology on job sites. The construction industry, however, may be facing a reformation in technology use in light of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 has been the push for many companies to accept technology for virtual meetings, virtual training, and other forms of digital work. So no, the construction industry will never be the ‘cool office’ with the savvy computers, iced coffee, and stand-up desks. It will however provide just about everything else to a centennial and these small adoptions of technology on the job will be more appealing than previous years.
Who knows – adopting technology in the construction industry will probably put certain firms ahead of others. And if technology is attracting new laborers this will be a double benefit.
Why and How You Should Hire Gen Z
Centennials want to work construction. The pay, security, and even the type of work is appealing to young people. The construction industry is a growing industry that can’t be outsourced overseas making it a stable pick for job hunters. Plus, with the USA’s infrastructure getting older, many buildings, bridges, and other structures will need to be updated. This also appeals right to the centennial’s desire to make a difference and build something in the world.
Knowing that centennials want to be involved in the construction industry, your firm or company should know how to appeal and hire these young laborers. If this opportunity is jumped on, it could be highly beneficial to both parties. What’s the best way to do this?
Apprenticeships. This model is ideal to Gen Z. Many have been raised with instant gratification by wanting immediate answers (think the “Google it” mentality) and thus can be impatient at times. This shouldn’t surprise your firm, and an apprenticeship gives a centennial exactly what they need: 1 on 1 direct training. This also sets up an apprentice for a successful career in which they grow and advance in.
It’s also important to realize that recruiting will be different than previous generations. Many people (especially Gen Z) are not using job recruiting sites. They’re hanging out on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Doing live video stories, having an educational channel, or even in person seminars at high schools and colleges will be the most appropriate way to reach Gen Z. It may not have worked for millennials and boomers, but this is definitely a great strategy for centennials. Digital reach will be the new medium for recruiting young people.
Forming America Welcomes Centennials
Forming America is proud to bring you the latest trends in the construction industry. We welcome centennials to the workforce and believe technology and centennials are important to healthy reform in the field of construction.
If you need concrete forms, rentals, or shoring equipment contact Forming America today and we’ll take care of you!