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4 Strategies to Attract and Retain Young Construction Talent | Advice From a Gen Z Worker

Young talent is very tough to come by in construction these days. The emphasis on college and university degrees has led young people away from trades and careers in construction. While these jobs may not be as desirable to some, having a career in construction can result in many great financial opportunities while also being a part of a fantastic construction community.


But at the moment, these construction careers are not as heavily pursued as they used to be and construction businesses need strategies to combat this. Moreover, not only will you need to attract young workers to your team, you have to get them to stay and that can be the hardest part.


In order to make construction more attractive to the Gen Z and Millennial generations, I believe that you need to provide technology on site, use innovative field and project management software, and have a great social media presence. Technology is the most important thing you could add and young workers will be more likely to join your team because of that. Furthermore, providing training along with having new technology on the job site will help retain young workers for a long time.


This article will provide advice on how to attract and retain young talent. As a Gen Z profile myself, I know first-hand what would convince young people to join a company. I believe that tapping into my knowledge will give you insight to exactly what young workers want.

 

1. Having Phones and Other Technology on the Job Site

Technology is the main theme in this article and it should be a constant reminder of how important technology can be for your business. The first strategy I would implement is providing company phones or having a brand new laptop/tablet available for the use of all workers. Even allowing workers to use their own phones on the site for all job activities can be very beneficial.


If you consider the average young person, you would probably associate them with using their phones. At first, you might think it's a waste of time for young people to be using phones so much. But, with young people and their desire to use technology, they are using their phones for so much more than just scrolling through social media. They are creating online businesses, promoting their own brands through social media, and using technology in ways that can be very positive.


The reason I bring this up is because young people can do great things with technology. They will find innovative ways to use their devices and they may even help develop new job strategies that make work more efficient. They also want to be using the most modern strategies in any work environment. If you want your business to stand out among others, you need to incorporate technology and this includes phone usage.


So now that you understand that young people enjoy using phones and technology, you will see a big difference between a company that has no technology implemented in their workflows compared to a company who uses technology for all things on the job site. You will find it much easier to attract young workers when you have technology available because, ultimately, technology can make everyone's job easier.


While I do understand there can be an opportunity for time wasting on social media and other apps, I feel the pros outweigh the cons. More often than not, young workers will be using their phone as a complement to their work rather than a distraction. Furthermore, if they are paired up with a senior member of the team, they probably are unlikely to use their phone for reasons other than work.


Adding phones and other technology like computers can be super important to attracting and retaining talent. This should be a key selling point when hiring young talent as they know they will be using technology that they are comfortable with and these devices will allow them to complete their jobs efficiently.


2. Using a Modern Field or Project Management Software/App

Using a modern field or project management software ties directly into having phones and other technology on the job site. When you are able to have this combination, young workers will see your company as leaders in the industry.


As we have mentioned above, technology is what young workers are looking for. They don't want to use old and inefficient methods of pen and paper. They want to be able to use their phones so that things like time tracking and project management can be done quickly with the touch of a device. Having data transferred automatically is something that can make a young person's job much easier and they can focus on perfecting what they are building.


If young workers are able to see files, track their hours worked, and do most of their stuff on their own devices, they will do their job more efficiently and try to learn more about their job instead of worrying about their hours. Because of all this, a field or project management platform is something to invest in.


While just having technology is good for attracting talent, it should be emphasized that modern and user-friendly technology will help you attract more young talent and you will have a better chance at retaining them.


The construction software that you use should be designed in ways that are similar to the apps young workers already use in their daily lives. If we think about all of the apps that young people use, they are incredibly user-friendly and innovative. Apps like Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and even Slack, are all commonly used by young people. You want to pick a construction software that incorporates some of the features that these apps offer so that young people will have an easier time using it.


For example, Snapchat allows you to take photos while also drawing and making comments on these images. If a software has this feature, it would be very attractive to a young person to use on the job site to take photos of issues and send them to the right people. Another good example is Twitter where there is a live feed and you can tweet and make comments. This can be a great feature in construction software as young people will be comfortable with scrolling through feeds and looking at comments made by supervisors. Finally, young people are very good at texting and would much rather text someone than make phone calls. That is why you should invest in a software solution that includes messaging so that no one will have to struggle with remembering what was said over a call.


So, if you invest in a software that is too complicated and expensive or an app that is not very attractive, potential young workers might not be so inclined to join your team or stay on your team after using outdated software. Make sure that you pick a software solution that will make young people comfortable and it will make their transition into the job so much easier.


Modern, user-friendly software is key to drawing in young workers and getting them to stay for the long run.


Want to see how OnTraccr's Field Management Platform can help attract and retain young talent? Click here to learn more.


3. Having a Social Media Presence

Social media is a huge part of our digital world. In order to stay on top of what young people enjoy and what would attract young workers, having a social media account for your company is a very important strategy to implement.


If you want to learn more about creating social media pages and accounts for your business, read my previous article here describing all you need to know about social media in construction.


To stay on theme with technology and phones, young people do spend a good amount of time on social media. Whether it is networking, posting pictures, promoting a brand, or just simply scrolling for leisure, social media is very important to a young person.


So, if you want to be an employer and a company that is relatable to young workers, you should a have social media account for yourself as well as accounts for your business.


Creating accounts for your business is very important and here's why. Just like everyone else, young people want to make money and develop their career to be stable financially. If you have an active social media account that is posting successful projects and other positive things, you would be giving the impression that your company is making a lot of money. Young people will be able to see this positive growth and be very interested in what your company does. You would be essentially marketing to young workers that your business is the place to work if they want to make a solid living. So, when you are recruiting young talent or these young people are looking for work, chances are that they will try to search you up on social media and if you have no social media posts, it won't reflect too well.


The best part about social media is that it's simple and you don't need to put a lot of time into making great content. You could even use a young worker who is already on your team and ask them to run your company's social media so that relatable content can always be posted.


4. Provide In-House or Paid Training

The final strategy I would recommend as a Gen Z is to provide training. This would include paying for training or having in-house training you could provide. Young people in particular will look for leadership training which could be beneficial to your company. Training could also include anything that would help them advance through your company as they can take on larger roles. Owners can help develop a worker into a future supervisor or manager.


As we mentioned in the introduction, young people are going to universities and colleges for degrees. Trade programs and other careers in construction are not pursued as much anymore. In order to make construction and your company attractive to young people, providing any kind of construction or professional development will encourage young talent to work for you and stay for the long run.


While this is not a technology-based strategy, this can be super beneficial in attracting young talent to work for you and retain them as they work through the ranks in your business and see promotions.


Once again, young people are guided by making money. However, they also want to develop their own skill sets so that they can advance their careers and take on important roles. Young people will be delighted to hear that you will pay for or provide training that will allow them to stay with the company for a long time and get rewarded for their hard work. If you can continue giving promotions for those who stick around in your business, you will be able to retain this talent for a long time. Moreover, you can use these workers as an example of how workers can advance through the ranks and get training which will attract even more young talent.

 

Technology and Young People Go Hand in Hand


Times have certainly changed in construction. With the younger generation moving into the workforce and the lack of young talent that is in construction, you need to make sure that you and your company move with the times so that your business can continue to be successful. The most important thing you should take away from this article is that having modern and user-friendly technology will give you a leg up over your competition. Technology is making a difference in this world and you need to keep up on the latest trends.


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