Gen Z is the newest generation of workers. This generation is vastly different from the Millennials when it comes to recruiting. The construction industry needs to understand these differences to get Gen Z workers interested in construction careers. 

As Baby Boomers retire at an alarmingly fast rate, Gen Z is the generation that could fill this huge workforce hole. Not only do millions of Baby Boomers retire every year, but the number has grown since the pandemic, according to Pew Research. More than 3 million more Boomers retired in the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. Taking steps to understand Gen Z and what they want now, will help you recruit and hire them, so your workforce remains strong. 

Who are Gen Z Workers and What Do They Want? 

Gen Z refers to individuals born between 1995 and 2010 or sometimes 2012. It is estimated that Gen Z makes up more than one-third of the global population, the largest generation to date. The numbers show there are enough Gen Z workers to fill the shoes of retiring Baby Boomers. 

Gen Z often gets compared to Millennials, but they couldn’t be more different, likely due to who raised them. “For Construction Pros” explains Millennials were raised by Baby Boomers who never wanted their children to suffer and were able to give them almost any material goods they wanted, making Millennials more entitled. Members of Gen Z were raised by Gen X parents who witnessed multiple crises while growing up (Watergate, the Berlin Wall, the Challenger explosion, farm crisis, the list goes on), and raised their children to be realists. Gen Z also saw their parents stress over bills and lose jobs during the Great Recession of 2008, so they want job security. 

Gen Z workers may not work their entire careers in construction, but they’re willing to try it. Their Gen X parents are more open-minded about career paths into trades, unlike Baby Boomers who wanted their Millennial children to get a college degree. Members of Gen Z also see the debt Millennials have from college, prompting more of them to choose work over a four-year college while taking courses on the side. Gen Z workers are also comfortable with the side hustle. Seasonal and even weekend work might appeal to them. Offering these types of opportunities helps construction companies get Gen Z workers in the door. 

4 Tips for Attracting Gen Z Workers to Construction Careers 

  1. Push the benefits of going into a skilled trade. It’s imperative to catch these workers while they are still in school. Gen Z workers are interested in trying new things and are willing to try a trade if it means they won’t have to shell out tons of money for higher education. Share the fact that the average student leaves a four-year degree program almost $40,000 in debt in your Gen Z recruitment materials. Aside from money, advertise that a career in construction gives Gen Z workers the ability to be creative, innovative and quick thinking, not to mention multiple offering opportunities for advancement. 
  2. Make more processes mobile-friendly. Gen Z workers certainly don’t have the desire to fill out paper or clunky online forms. They have always had access to technology; this is the generation that could work a mobile device at age 3 better than their grandparents could. Keep your time tracking process mobile-friendly, straightforward and fast. 
  3. Reach them where they are. Recruiting Gen Z for the construction industry means you’ll have to switch up where you post job descriptions. Gen Z workers aren’t spending their time on Facebook or Twitter. As of 2020, Snap Chat was the most popular platform among this generation, with TikTok and YouTube coming in second and third respectively. 
  4. Show there are development opportunities. Gen Z workers are driven by financial rewards and advancement opportunities, so offering employee development is a must. Emphasize how these opportunities can put Gen Z on a succession plan, possibly propelling them to management and leadership positions. 

A cloud-based time tracking system, like ExakTime’s mobile app, can help you attract more Gen Z workers. Allowing younger generations to punch in and out from their phones, showcases that your company brand embraces technology. 

In this tight construction labor market, maintaining a positive employer brand is necessary to attract skilled construction candidates, retain current construction employees and remain competitive. Using paper time cards may give the impression that your company isn’t technically advanced and doesn’t have the inclination to embrace new work tools. 

ExakTime’s mobile app helps eliminate time theft, reduces payroll mistakes and decreases your reliance on paper. 

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