Rob Precious of Gyproc Tools discusses the importance of attracting future talent into the construction industry and offers five tips for success
As a business, attracting the next customer is just as important as the next employee. Following the biggest decline in the sector since 2012, businesses in construction now face a serious challenge to innovate and actively encourage young talent into what is traditionally seen as an ageing workforce. The ever-growing skills ‘time bomb’ is a stark reality for the UK construction industry, with figures from the Construction Industry Training Board suggesting that 19% of construction workers aged 55+ are set to retire in the next 5-10 years. That’s equivalent to a whopping 400,000 people!
Whether we like it or not, reviving growth in the industry is now dependent on attracting both male and female millennial talent at the earliest stage of their professional development.
The construction sector is regarded as a cornerstone of the UK’s economic progression. In the future, plasterers, bricklayers, engineers and surveyors will be charged with producing cutting-edge technology and building structures that will help the UK tackle any renewable energy issues. To achieve this, there needs to be as many people entering the industry as possible.
Organisations must remove any existing preconceptions and make construction an attractive career path for all young people by taking actions to promote and encourage working in the industry.
How can organisations do this? Here we discuss five tactics to help attract millennial talent into your construction business.
Removing industry preconceptions
In the past, jobs in construction have traditionally been perceived as male-oriented. The lack of urgency to promote diversity in the industry is still clear, preventing companies from gaining traction and engaging with young talent. A new approach is needed.
In order to attract and retain millennials, construction businesses need to gain a clear understanding of what motivates millennials professionally. As an industry, emphasis on the wealth of opportunity and diversity of job roles is particularly important.
Create a learning environment
Amongst the work-related fears millennials have, getting stuck with no career development is amongst the top three factors. According to research, 63% of millennials look for jobs at learning organisations where they will have access to training, workshops and company-funded postgraduate schooling.
Throughout your organisation’s marketing and recruitment material, highlighting that a career in construction offers a wealth of career advancement and opportunity that takes place in modern and hi-tech environments already positions your company as attractive to young talent.
Generate interest early
Firstly, it’s vital to ensure that students of all ages, male and female, are informed about all disciplines and opportunities within the construction industry. Young students who are passionate about construction and keen to enter the industry should have the opportunity to make informed educational decisions in order to realise their ambition.
In the past, construction companies tended to lack an on-campus presence at schools, colleges and universities, which ultimately hasn’t helped graduate intake into the sector. However, in recent years, the visibility in terms of career potential has moved to the fore.
The education sector is improving the increase of awareness in the sector by using dynamic teaching methods to help bring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to life. Attracting girls to the industry is a huge priority as they are still scarce in the construction profession, despite the career opportunities it offers.
As well as emphasising the importance of STEM to students, male and female, it is just as important that teachers and parents are aware of the importance and benefits that working in construction can bring.
Wealth of career opportunities
Millennials rank career advancement opportunities and work-life balance as most important to them at work – and with the ever-impending reality of university costs, many young people are becoming aware of the existence of other routes to a successful and rewarding career.
Organisations in the construction industry need to provide these development opportunities to help attract talent from a wider range of social backgrounds.
Internships and apprenticeships offer an opportunity to learn while earning and can become a huge step to further education later in life. In-house training is offered alongside fully funded qualifications to help employees enhance their formal education. Learning on the job can produce more well-rounded employees, as it requires hard work and commitment.
The scale of opportunity that construction can provide for entry-level students is superb. Construction is an exciting career field to be involved in and new opportunities are always available for qualified individuals.
It is a flourishing and fast-growing sector, not to mention construction and engineering graduates earn some of the best salaries in the country.
When it comes to interviews and the selection process, recruitment of new staff in the sector needs to be based on talent alone, rather than gender or any other arbitrary factor. The more a company builds its female workforce, the more women will be attracted to fill positions in the industry, and the industry will thrive.
It is therefore up to those currently involved in the construction sector to spread the word and improve the appreciation of a career that knows no boundaries.
Build a supportive company culture
Providing job satisfaction to your organisation’s young workforce begins with building a supportive and nurturing culture in the workplace. With figures suggesting that 76% of millennials rate professional development opportunities as one of the most important elements of company culture, it’s clear that effectively communicating and investing in training for your employees is the key to retaining millennial talent.
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