Meeting Tomorrow’s Workforce Where They Live

By on April 11, 2017

As we wring our hands over the difficulty of attracting young people into construction we need to ask ourselves:  If we had grown up in their world would WE want to work in this industry?

The same forces that will shape the future of our industry offer opportunities for us to attract young people into its workforce. As the Dad of both a Millennial daughter and a Gen Z daughter I’ve observed traits in my daughters and their friends that plug directly into the disruptive change that is needed in construction. Those traits are also the key to making construction resonate with young people.

Two words that come to mind are collaboration and communication. For good measure throw in a third word: Technology. What our industry has, and more important, what our industry NEEDS going forward plays directly into the sweet spots of today’s young people. This is particularly true of  “Gen Z,” sometimes known as Digital Natives because they have never known a world without computers.

I was reading an article on Techonomy, a technology website, titled “Disrupting Concrete With Code.” The article addresses using technology to improve productivity and collaboration. It was written by Tracy Young, CEO of PlanGrid, a San Francisco-based electronic data integration platform that allows construction team members to share drawings, submittals, RFIs, etc.

In it she mentions McKinsey & Company reports addressing the current and future state of construction. In reading her article and drilling down into Young’s source material I was struck by several issues which appear to directly impact the future of our industry and our ability to attract young people to construction careers.
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