Although Generation Z’s perception of the construction industry is evolving, Gen Zers interviewed on an Associated General Contractors of America podcast said contractors could do more to attract the demographic, according to www.constructiondive.com.
The podcast guests said Gen Z workers—generally defined as those currently under the age of 25—want financial stability and to continually adapt to the economic and technological landscape, so it is important to create a path where they can envision their future.
Josh Miller, former director of Gen Z studies for management consulting firm XYZ University and current student at Northwestern University, said most of the people in this demographic were born into a world of financial change and conflict, causing them to want stability. Because of that need for stability, Gen Zers respect those who make smart personal financial decisions, such as going into the trades.
That highlights an important difference between millennials and Gen Zers. Millennials typically prioritize their work as their main source of fulfillment and are less likely to compromise. Gen Zers typically are willing to find lucrative work and recognize the trades are a viable route for that. However, Miller said work-life balance is more important to Gen Z.
Anna Bennett, a student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and an AGC student chapter leader, agreed with the need for stability. She said her contemporaries are looking for forward-thinking companies where they can envision themselves working for many years while still having time for family.
Miller and Bennett said the idea that going into the trades means someone is a failure typically comes from parents. It is key for contractors to show how an individual can succeed in the industry.
For Tyler Korte, an AGC student chapter leader at Pittsburg State University in Kansas and field engineer for Crossland Heavy Contractors, having contractors bring workers who are one or two years out of college to recruiting days was crucial because they could relate and share their experiences working in the industry.