There are defining moments in history that shape generations. Like flashbulb memories, some events crystalize in our brains, and we can recall “where we were” when we heard the news that changed our world. Without a doubt, 2020 has been a sobering experience for every American, regardless of their age or background. But for members of Generation Z (people born from 1995 to 2010) who are just entering the workforce, this year has made an indelible mark on their future career paths, priorities, and what they are looking for in an employer. What does this mean for your business? As construction industry leaders, it’s time you prepare your company to welcome and understand the new priorities, needs, and values of this incoming workforce. Otherwise, a huge employee gap will leave you and your bottom line vulnerable in the years to come.
Salary is important. But if posting paychecks is the extent of your recruiting tactic, think again. Studies show that work-life balance trumps salary alone for Gen Z. On average, 38% of Gen Z members consider work-life balance as their number one factor in choosing an employer. If you aren’t already prioritizing your company culture, it’s time to reassess what makes your business shine. From mental-health days to employee assistance programs, to community activities and more, companies need to be better-rounded if they want to attract dynamic talent. To truly stand out to Gen Z, a heavy emphasis should be placed on opportunities for professional development and the chance to grow with the company, along with an inclusive and collaborative environment. Remember, members of Gen Z want to feel like they are making a difference. If your operation is advertised as a place to clock in and clock out at the end of the day, you’re destined to become an undesirable workplace. A high turnover means heightened costs for you, the employer. For example, replacing a mid-level employee can cost 20% of their annual salary, meaning a $60,000 per year manager can cost about $12,000 to replace. To attract (and retain) talent, build in additional incentives. What impact can your employee expect to make on your community, and how can you help them to advance both personally and professionally? These are the tough questions you need to be able to answer come interview season.
What is your team doing to increase visibility? Communication is key. Utilize social media platforms to allow Gen Z members to consider your company. Not on LinkedIn? Create your company profile today. Not on Facebook or Youtube? Consider adding social channels to showcase the exciting work your crew is accomplishing. Generation Z is known as the first true digital natives – the internet, social networks, and mobile devices have been a part of their reality since day one. If it’s difficult to connect with your business, there are hundreds of other more tech-savvy options out there for recruits to explore at the click of a button. Once you master reaching out digitally, interact in-person (or from a safe, six-feet apart during the pandemic, of course). Contact local school district leaders and volunteer for virtual or in person career day events at middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Elevate your internship programs or develop a new program so kids can discover the opportunity that awaits them. New data shows that fifty-six percent of interns and 40% of co-op students turned into full-time, entry-level hires in 2019.
Given the industry’s aging workforce and an unprecedented number of retiring owners, contractors need to do everything possible to recruit young employees into the industry. It’s crucial to take the time to methodically map out recruiting efforts before you’re in a desperate hiring predicament. Recruits need to understand that the construction industry doesn’t just offer temporary job placement, but successful, rewarding career paths – and it’s your responsibility to make sure they know that.