How Contractors Can Appeal To Gen-Z By Leveraging Construction Tech
In 10 years' time, Gen-Z will lead the Construction industry. My seventeen-year-old son thinks that "AR in Construction is pretty cool”, yet if I weren’t constantly playing around in HoloLens, he’d never have known it existed. I believe it’s time we asked ourselves an important question: “How can we as an industry expose the future’s young talent to the entire spectrum of Construction Tech?”
Construction faces an immediate existential threat: our talent pool is shrinking. The average age of construction workers is around 42, and boomers across industries in the US are retiring at a rate of 10 thousand individuals a day.
The AEC thought leaders of the future are currently in high school. While they might not be working yet, they are making critical career choices as we speak. More importantly, the way they discover jobs has completely changed. If you’re not on Google’s front page when they search “Jobs of the future”, you simply don’t exist. If you don’t play their rules, you’re invisible.
Let me make this real for you. I asked my son to search “Construction” wherever he lives on social media. He pulled up a TikTok video—a floor installation process (#Construction)—that had nearly 50 million views, and 6.6 million people liking it. Don’t take my word for it: Ask a teenager you know to find that video for you.
If your industry isn’t cool, Gen-Z doesn’t care. “Innovation” is no longer a buzzword: it’s a necessity. High school students are choosing to work in environments that reflect how they were raised: Technology first.
Gen-Z is “digital natives.” They are the first generation born into a world of furiously advancing technology. Most were using a cell phone by their 7th birthday, and half now spend more than 10 hours a day online. The idea of a world without the internet seems incomprehensible.
Tech-savvy talent promises to charge organizations with energy and tech-focused ideas. Attracting this new generation of leaders will not be easy. Construction is competing against the world’s top employers: colleges, an ever-expanding gig economy, and the military.
It’s time to change how we attract talent.
The Construction industry simply won’t survive without an infusion of young talent into its labor force. So how can we make that a reality?
Gen-Z has one clear distinguishing feature: They are completely comfortable with new technology. For Construction, that practically means new talent will be most effective in integrating complex digital ecosystems and devices into their workflow - something we can only dream of.
With COVID-19 restrictions, my 9-year-old daughter is now doing long-distance learning like many other kids in the U.S. Every day she shares an incredible amount of information: all her work is done in the cloud, everything is handled in real-time, and 30+ people collaborate at once. And here’s the best part: She doesn’t even have an email.
Make no mistake: the technology gap is real. Sharing pictures over email with excel functionality is outdated. What appeals to Gen-Z are the advanced technologies: Augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles (AV), and robotics. The Construction industry committed to deploying these new technologies on our jobsite. And by the time we do, my daughter and her friends will be ready to enter the workforce.
But there’s a silver lining here. If we play this right, there’s a reality where they love the idea of making Construction their career.
Here are 6 things Contractors can do to make a Construction career more appealing to Gen-Z:
For Construction companies who want to attract tomorrow’s leaders, there’s never been a better time to flex their digital muscles than today.
I’m always interested in building relationships with like-minded professionals. If these ideas resonated with you, I’d love to connect. You can reach me here directly: firstname.lastname@example.org