The construction industry is experiencing a major shift as Baby Boomer employees move towards retirement and Gen Z joins the workforce. Though only a couple of decades apart, younger generations have undeniable differences in their career mobility, values and priorities, meaning the industry must adapt to attract a younger workforce and keep its workers energized and satisfied.
Technology plays a huge role in the future of work for this generation. Gen Z’ers are digital natives: they’ve grown up in a world where the internet and mobile devices have almost always been at their fingertips, and they are quick to learn and adopt new technology. Mobile applications are an essential part of Gen Z’s day-to-day life. From ordering lunch to catching a ride, technology is embedded in their daily habits, making it no surprise that they’re inclined to establish a career in a forward-thinking, technology-driven industry.
It’s a common misconception that the construction industry doesn’t use technology. According to JB Knowledge’s 2020 Construction Technology Report, 92% of the construction industry uses a smartphone for work daily, using mobile devices to safely view BIM models, installation drawings, project documents and more while on the job site. Adding a communication strategy with your work force will streamline information without causing distraction. This group of up-and-coming workers is accustomed to using their cell phones to communicate with friends and coworkers, and younger generations are likely to be even more inclined to adopt new technology than previous generations of construction workers.
A younger workforce also means a higher turnover risk. Recent reports show that the average turnover rate in the construction industry is 21.4%, where the turnover rate of employees 24 and younger is about 64%. High turnover is associated with increased injury and decreased quality of work, ultimately hindering your project effectiveness and potentially damaging your reputation.
An influencing factor in high turnover rates in younger employees is the lack of engagement and connectedness they feel in the workplace. In an industry as fluid as construction, keeping the entire workforce connected and engaged with each other is challenging. But, successfully engaging your workforce allows your company to complete higher quality work, on time, with fewer injuries and losses, elevating your reputation and keeping you competitive. And technology will help.