How to address construction workforce challenges is a hot topic in today’s hectic business environment. Aging crew members are walking out the door and there simply aren’t enough new workers to replace them.
Construction companies need to meet increasing demand, which is why more efforts are being made to recruit and retain young workers – specifically right out of high school.
Why are construction careers being overlooked?
For every one person who enters the trades, five retire. Not only is there a lack of vocational education being offered at schools, there’s also a common believe that the only way to make a livable wage is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, people can be less inclined to do this type of blue-collar work because they think it insinuates they can’t find jobs anywhere else.
Another common belief is that construction is merely a temporary source of income. Unfortunately, it can also be considered as a last resort. Many young people still equate construction work to digging ditches, when in reality, they would be doing so much more, like working with state-of-the art technology.
The truth is, with Baby Boomers retiring and many Millennials moving from job to job, people who are part of Generation Z are learning that they have access to higher-paying jobs in construction. The average construction salary is often nearly $10,000 more than that of a recent college graduate. Not to mention, workers who enter the trades straight out of high school will kick off their careers without massive student loan debt.
How young should you start recruiting?
Construction education can start as early as elementary school. Consider starting up an annual “Construction Day” where you present to students at a local school. Make it educational and focus on multiple aspects of the average construction career. You can also find opportunities to educate teachers and guidance counselors.
Participating in high school career fairs is very important. Be sure to offer summer jobs, internships or scholarships. Additionally, get involved with STEM programs at your local schools and partner with vocational centers.
Overcome construction workforce challenges
If kids are educated on the construction industry at a young age, they’ll be more likely to consider construction career opportunities later on. Recruiting at the high school level is crucial.
This blog post was drafted in partnership with Ergodyne. Check out Ergodyne’s original article, “With skilled trades jobs in demand, reaching high school students becomes more critical than ever.”