5 Things the Next Generation of Construction Leaders Wants You to Know

By on September 5, 2017

From ConstructionDIVE:  Over the last seven weeks, Construction Dive has spoken with 10 young professionals from their early 20s to their early 40s about their goals for a career in construction. These individuals represent many — but certainly not all — of the different roles, backgrounds and experiences at work in the field today.

Some have taken up the mantle of implementing new technology and green building practices, while others are helping to reframe the idea of a career in construction for the next generation. They all acknowledged that they still have much to learn, but they were also open and introspective about how they intended to do so and what challenges they anticipate ahead.

Below, we’ve gathered some of the common themes and insights from those interviews. Here’s what the future generation of construction leaders wants you to know.

They want hands-on training

Sandra Malm, 26, grew up in the industry and is now a project manager for a division of her family’s homebuilding business focused on infill spec homes in the Washington metro area. Malm’s proximity to homebuilding during her childhood gave her strong footing, but it didn’t replace on-the-job training. For her, supervisors that gave more information than needed early on was invaluable.

“Often, I’m walking a house with [my supervisor] or one of the other project managers who are senior to me, and they’ll just talk about why things are done a certain way,” she said. “They don’t have to be giving me all this information. I’m on my fourth house now and can pretty much get from start to finish with very few questions.”

Kristy Thompson, 23, who currently works as a site superintendent at Addison Homes in Greer, SC, said the company’s system of “processes, procedures and checklists” helped guide her in the field. The opportunity to spend more time shadowing a senior employee would have been helpful, she said. But she acknowledges the pain points. “The industry is so-fast paced and everyone’s so busy right now that it’s kind of hard for builders to do that,” she said. “You need to have the personality and initiative to figure it out for yourself most of the time.”

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