They’re coming! Gen Z (the oldest of whom were born in the mid-90’s) is heading into the workforce, and they’re a 61 million-member force to be reckoned with. They may also be the solution to the alarming, and widening, talent gap in the skilled trades. Effectively recruiting Gen Z isn’t just important for construction companies; it is mission-critical.

The Good News: Gen Z Is Rethinking Work

For Millennials, the post-high school path was clear: college. No left turns allowed. A four-year degree was expected — by parents, by schools, by society. But, as David Stillman, co-founder of GenZGuru says of the up-and-coming generation:

They’re seeing Millennials saddled with a lot of college debt, and they’re also not seeing all the benefits of having a four-year degree due to how expensive it is. Gen Z is looking at other options, and trade school becomes really appealing. It’s a shorter path to a career and much more affordable.

They’re pragmatic, that’s for sure. In fact, this is a defining feature of Gen Z. Hub & Spoke, a one-of-a-kind coworking community, benefits people of all ages, and it helps get students thinking about and interested in the trades. Gen Z

Founder David Decker says, “Some of the students will discover and get excited about a specific aspect of the venture — like HVAC — because they appreciate the craftsmanship and have learned they can make a great living at it. Hub & Spoke will pair students interested in furthering their education with an affiliated industry partner.” Their career paths are accelerated, and they can begin earning a living (and not just paying off student loans).

As a demographic, Gen Z is also more open-minded in terms of their employment options, and this is ideal for construction companies that need to recruit skilled workers.

Here’s what you need to know about Gen Z, so you can leverage it in your recruiting efforts.

1. They Want to Make Money — And They Want to Learn

Just because Gen Z is more likely to forgo a traditional four-year college experience doesn’t mean they don’t want to learn. In fact, they value continuing education, but as pragmatists, they’d rather do it on the job while they are earning a good income.

Perfect. If there’s any field where on-the-job learning is built into the work, it’s construction. Apprenticeships and internships, for example, allow them to get their education, apply it in real time, and make money. Play up this benefit in your recruiting efforts.

2. They’re All About the Side HustleGen Z

Again, because Gen Z sees their Millennial counterparts dealing with crushing college debt, they tend to be far more fiscally conservative. They will want “side hustles,” or second jobs that provide both income and flexibility. Stillman says, “We might have Gen Zers that go to work at a corporation during the day, but want to do sheetrocking, tiling, or plumbing at night as their side hustle.”

Gen Z is rethinking work, so consider rethinking your flexibility in terms of schedules. Can you tap into this vast, and motivated, workforce by offering non-traditional hours? Can they work evenings, nights, weekends?

3. They Hate to Miss Out

Gen Z has intense FOMO (fear of missing out). When it comes to employment, they are interested in the ability to try out and explore different roles within one company. This could mean working with designers, contractors, project managers, skilled tradespeople, and others in various capacities and on various projects.

It also makes a coworking community like Hub & Spoke a natural fit for Gen Z. They can interact with a diverse group of people, and skill sets, while tackling different challenges. As Stillman says, “The more they can do, the less they’ll feel they’re missing out and the less likely they’ll be to look somewhere else.”

When recruiting Gen Z, emphasize how your company fits into their lives and goals. From earning and advancement potential to the ability to work on a variety of exciting projects, they are ripe for the picking, so to speak. You cannot afford to ignore this population; they are the future of the construction industry. And they’re arriving now. Learn how you can get involved with Hub & Spoke and start recruiting the next generation.