Do you know someone born starting after the year 2000? Well, they’re classified as a member of Generation Z – and they are about to surpass Millennials.
In 2019, Generation Z – or “Gen Z” – will comprise 32 percent of the global population. Gen-Zers are also officially the first generation to have never known a non-digital world. However, “Millennials have been, and continue to be, the target of training and recruitment strategies for many construction firms” (Construction Dive).
Gen-Zers are just beginning to enter the workforce. So the question is, with the current labor shortage, how will your company attract and enable young Gen Z talent to whom tech comes easily?
What to expect when hiring Gen Z talent
This first one is an easy assumption – technology. Any Gen-Zers applying to work in the construction industry will ask about the technology your company is using. You’ll also want to ensure you’re using innovative tech in your hiring process as well – like AI and machine learning.
Career development is another thing you should expect with Gen Z. They’re always looking for more learning and professional development opportunities. After all, they are the generation that grew up watching YouTube videos and googling step-by-step tutorials to learn new tricks of the trade.
How can you ensure your career development program is up to par so that you can retain your Gen Z workers and keep them engaged?
Offer mentorship opportunities for your new Gen Z workers (pair them with someone that’s been in the role for about five years that they can learn from).
Allow them to job shadow other employees in different departments.
Include learning and development opportunities for them to take advantage of like events, trade shows, conferences, courses, etc.
Gen-Zers will look out for one more thing – a collaborative workplace. Whether it’s on the site or in the office, they’ll be looking to join a company where employees work together and collaborate with one another.
How the construction industry will change with Gen-Zers
With the emergence of Gen Z in the construction industry, three things will largely be impacted: management, feedback, and technology.
You might be wondering, “How does management fit into this?” Gen Zers want your help in managing both skill performance and life coaching. Gone are the days of the traditional emails or weekly meetings. Gen-Zers are looking to be socially connected with everyone at all times – including their managers.
Because Gen-Zers are the most tech connected generation, this means they’ll want communication with their manager on a daily basis as well as feedback on a regular basis.
And don’t forget – this is the most technologically savvy generation so far. This means they’ll be the employees that will pick up technology the quickest, make recommendations on up and coming technologies and tools, and “contribute directly to [your] business and [your] bottom line.”
Whether we’re ready for it or not, the Gen Z shift in the construction industry is already underway.
In a recent survey of Canadian and U.S.-based construction professionals working at GCs and Developers we asked them how they prefer to consume construction related content. In third and fourth place were social media (36%) and video (30%).
Gen Z is here and they’re in a constant state of wanting to be up-to-date with industry news and content – which we’re seeing in the rise of social media and video to consume industry related news.
The generation to follow will only be more in tune with technology, so we need to ready ourselves and be used to adapting to trends in our industry, and the workforce as a whole.
Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.
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