Millennials have been given a lot of stick for their supposed attitude towards work. Yes, there may be some out there that aren’t willing to put in the hard yards, but if you paint everyone in this next generation with the same brush, it’s your loss. Millennials, otherwise known as Gen Yers, are the answer to the growing trades shortage. So instead of bagging them and taking great delight in mocking them, we need to focus on how we can create a business environment they’re drawn to. And it’s not as hard as you might think.
Many people believe the future is far from bright for young people entering the trades. They obviously haven’t spent any time in the industry at all. Once you’ve had your apprenticeship and become certified, you can work your way up the ranks and be leading your own team in just a matter of years. You can then move into project management, sales, or business manager roles, and eventually look at running your own business. You can also transfer your skills and pivot into roles at larger commercial businesses. The challenge for businesses hiring in the trades is to make all of this clear to Gen Yers at the outset. Do this and you’ll likely have a much bigger pool of applicants to choose from.
Universities have done a huge disservice to the trades, heavily promoting degrees while forsaking apprenticeships. But this is something trade businesses are not grumbling about. Quite the opposite in fact because it has almost single handedly caused the shortage, meaning there is an abundance of work out there and not enough workers to do it. This means businesses can charge more and great employees can demand higher salaries. Many tradespeople are living comfortable lives. This is a great bargaining chip to use for any newbies in the industry.
You might not think so, but millennials are generally less concerned about money than other generations in the workforce. It’s still important but it’s not the bottom line. There are other incentives that they’re more concerned about, such as:
Like almost any industry, the operational landscape of the trades has drastically changed. Technology has weaved its way into the everyday lives of workers, offering huge benefits to those who fully utilise it. And it’s really exciting. Take job management for instance. Rather than using paper to run the whole business and often losing half of it before it’s actioned, trade businesses can now operate on smartphones, with more and more processes becoming digitised. Augmented reality could soon see its way into the industry as well, assisting tradespeople with various tasks. Gen Yers were practically born with a smartphone, so the opportunity of being at the leading edge of the industry will no doubt appeal.
To many this will just seem like a bunch of hogswallop. But for many younger people, being part of something bigger is really important, as is being recognised for the work they do. These two points go hand-in-hand. So if you can convince millennials that they’ll be part of a close-knit team (plus be able to deliver that team environment), then you’ll make your business really attractive to this generation.
Building on the point above, if you can also show how your business helps other people, you’ll also hold much more sway in the recruitment process. Plumbers don’t just fix blocked sinks and broken toilets, they create hygienic environments for people to live in. Electricians don’t just give power to homes, they keep help keep houses warm in winter and the provide the juice for what is perhaps one of the most important items in a Gen Yer’s life – the smartphone.
You don’t have to go all hipster on us, but investing in a great designer to create a logo and give your vehicles, quotes, invoices, and website an overhaul will give your business instant appeal. But it won’t just help you appeal to millennials, it will also make your business stand out for potential customers as well. So it’s a win-win for everyone.
So here are some ways to help you make your business more attractive to millennials.
This article was written by Michael Howard from Tradify.