The construction industry is huge, accounting for 7% of the UK’s overall GDP. Yet it doesn’t drive the huge abundance of young talent it requires year on year. In fact, one of the major issues the construction industry is trying to address is its skills shortage. While there are high levels of experienced, highly skilled individuals within the industry, these skills are valuable and need to be passed onto the next generation, however the next generation are not quite choosing construction as their career path. Within this article we look to address why this may be and what the construction industry could be doing to improve the situation.
The construction industry on attracting 16 – 21-year-olds
The younger generation we talk about attracting into the construction industry are between the ages of 14 – 21 years old. It’s that pivotal moment when children are becoming young adults and need to start thinking about what they may want to be doing in the future. With the construction industry looking to see more of the younger generation heading towards it, there are a number of areas which could be improved collectively to change the stigma. Currently, entering the construction industry doesn’t seem to be high amongst their options and there are a few reasons for this including:
Unrealistic perceptions about the industry
The younger generation have unrealistic perceptions of the construction industry. Currently they’re not quite seeing the benefits of the construction industry as they need to be shown or educated on. They typically see buildings of all sizes and machinery being used however, they don’t see the technical abilities involved working across multiple projects. The construction industry could do more to support changing the younger generations perception especially in a world with so many more options. Working with schools and colleges so the younger generation can ask questions first-hand with professionals and see projects in the industry could go quite far to changing the perception.
Apprenticeships falling in numbers
There is a lack of apprenticeships available on the market for the younger generation to take advantage of. With a lack of apprenticeships, it makes it extremely difficult for young adults to be drawn towards the industry as they’re looking to avoid any barriers to entry.
Educating the younger generation on construction
The younger generation are lacking education in the area of construction. With construction really not popping up as a school subject, the construction industry and companies should be doing their upmost to get inside the schools to educate early on. Young adults are not learning about construction at the right time and before we know it, they’ve got their thoughts and future set on other industries which they see and hear more of.
What should we be doing to attract the younger generation to construction?
With the continuous need for recruitment more important than ever, the construction industry needs to show the younger generation the highlights and benefits of joining the construction industry. Here are some examples of what the construction industry are doing and should be doing alongside to entice the younger adults towards the industry.
Have technology at the forefront
The generation the construction industry is trying to attract mostly all have one thing in common. Most of them have grown up with or around technology. 30-40 years ago, technology wasn’t as accessible so only the lucky few had access to it. Now, the generation we want in the industry have all got vast experiences with technology. What they don’t know which can be done via education is how much technology is now used in the construction industry. Technology now drives the construction industry forward. We need to ensure today’s young adults know their current technology skills can be developed and transferred to a huge industry such as construction.
Training and education
Barrier to entry is a concern for young adults as they need and want to understand how they get into their dream job or industry. The construction industry needs to make it more or less obvious by being more visible that training and educating within the construction industry exists. Henry Riley are a UK construction and property consultant business that have taken it upon themselves to provide and deliver construction training and development programmes. This type of opportunities provides low barriers to entry for the younger generation to consider construction as a career path. If you want the younger generation to consider construction firms, then constructions could benefit from being more visible, which means attending job fairs, attending their schools, colleges and educating them from a lot earlier on in their development.
Long term career path visibility
Seeing the future isn’t quite possible but seeing where you may end up is important to a lot of us. This is just as important to young adults. The construction industry needs to show they’re very much more of where your career or life can go when you’re within the construction world. If we were to ask a generation Z to name some top footballers or name, the world’s top influencers on social media they’d know. They don’t know who’s at the top of the construction industry and how they got there. So, visualising that for them can help them see a clearer path.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be started and continued to ensure the younger generation are aware of the construction industry. The construction industry being made up thousands if not hundreds of thousands need to get involved as they need the talent to complete these projects. So, as those companies get involved and become more visible to the younger industry, there is every opportunity the younger generation can consider construction as choice of career.