How to Successfully Hire Gen Z in the Construction Industry

Hiring Gen Z in the Construction and Trades Industry
August 9, 2021

As Baby Boomers retire, fewer and fewer people are choosing careers in residential construction. Consequently, this is leaving a glut of workers in carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, and any trade you can think of.

According to WorkBC, 95.5% of job openings in the next 10 years are to replace retiring workers. Of course, the openings are filled by the younger generations moving up the ladder. While many articles focus on Millennials, the group that gets less coverage but requires discussion is Generation Z. (view article here)

The generation, also known as Gen Z or Zoomers, currently makes up 20% of the workforce. Typically under the age of 25, Gen Z is finishing school and figuring out what career path they will take. Particularly, some Gen Z students decide to pursue a career in the construction industry by attending career fairs and career planning courses.

But in an industry dominated by Boomer management and owners, Gen Z struggles to see eye to eye on many things. Specifically, the two generations disagree on hiring and onboarding processes, compensation and education.

For companies to remain competitive for years to come, our senior business leaders need to be flexible and adapt to Gen Z’s perspectives on employment to attract and retain Gen Z staff.

Here’s a look at how Gen Z looks at their path to career development.

Job Posting 

Boomer: “I need a job; I will walk around town and ask managers if they are hiring. Cover letters are essential.”

Gen Z: “I want a job with purpose; I’ll scroll through Indeed and see if there are fun postings. Cover letters are optional.” 

Because Gen Z grew up with technology at their fingertips, they like to apply for jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Historically, Boomers would spend hours going around town, talking to management and verbally telling them how they would be an asset to their team. For Gen Z, it is the opposite; Zoomers will submit their resumes online and use online programs to build convincing cover letters or portfolios that show their expertise.

With that being said, although Gen Z can apply for jobs must faster, they have become more selective of what jobs they will take the time to apply for. They have access to thousands of companies hiring. For that reason, they will only apply to the ones they are genuinely interested in.

Tip: To catch Gen Z’s attention in a job post, take the time to write a detailed and convincing description they won’t be able to miss.

1. Be as detailed, with purpose.

A good company description should mention not just what the company does, but why it does it. By doing so, applicants do not have to take an extra step to research the company and see if they will be a good fit in the long haul.

Along with your organization’s description, it is essential to mention diversity and inclusion initiatives. If there is no mention of initiatives in the description or website, Zoomers may not identify themselves with the company. Hence, they might not see the value in submitting an application.

If your goal is to attract and retain up-and-coming talent – consider creating a youth/student program. Programs show Zoomer’s that you welcome and encourage working with younger generations.

  2. Add a description of the Job Takeaways.

As Gen Z is relatively new to the workforce, they are still exploring what career to pursue. Moreover, they’re looking for work experience that will be valuable for them. They are looking to work for companies where they can grow and learn the most, but will also look the best on their resume.

For this reason, be sure to list what specific skills and competencies they will learn in the position.

3. List the Experience or Requirements Necessary.

Every person contributes differently, and applicants want to be proud of what they’re applying for. Even if the job is entry-level and does not require specific certifications or skills, listing qualities and personality traits make all the difference.

Beyond the hard skills, what soft skills make someone a strong contributor to your team?

  4. Don’t leave the Salary blank. 

Although you may not know what would be a fair wage for your hiring position, it is essential to list at least a pay range to get a broader pool of applicants. Without an estimate of the hourly rate or salary, applicants are unsure if applying is worth their time and will choose to not submit their resumes. There is nothing worse, for both parties than going down the interview path to be held up by compensation.

Hiring Gen Z in the Construction and Trades Industry

Job Description – Roles and Responsibilities   

Boomer: “I love my job because I feel I am making a difference in the world.”

Gen Z: “I love my job because I can learn new skills and test different roles.”

Okay, so maybe this is more of a Millenial vs. Gen Z thing. But employers in the industry often make a crucial mistake that leads to applicants not showing up on the first day on the job. They never gave them a detailed job offer. Once the applicant has been chosen, regardless of the position, send the applicant a detailed job offer.

Gen Z grew up getting endless amounts of information at their fingertips, they feel unsure about the job without the certainty of a job offer. They do not know what to expect on the first day. A simple one-page job offer will give them peace of mind to foster a safe environment for new employees.

Another factor that leads to reduced Gen Z turnover is the variety of tasks and skills learned in a role. Gen Z, who choose career paths in the industry, do so because it is entrepreneurial, hands-on, and requires them to do lots of problem-solving.

Research from the Stillman’s found that 75 percent of Gen Z would be interested in a situation where they could have multiple roles within one place of employment. Having initiatives such as rotation programs and cross-training can significantly increase employee satisfaction and employee turnover.

Hiring Gen Z in the Construction and Trades Industry


Boomer: “Next week is my 15th anniversary working for X company. I’m expecting a raise.”

Gen Z: “Last week, I completed a project 3x faster than I would have 6 months ago when I started. My wage should be increased.”

Born into a world of financial fluctuations and conflict, stability is of utmost importance to Gen Z (sound familiar?). Salary, job security, and benefits motivate them to stay and work for a company long-term.

For that reason, Gen Z is attracted to the construction industry because they can make cash fast without having to complete a lengthy educational program or degree. Correspondingly, because Gen Z is always searching for financial stability, they are quick to leave the company if offered higher wages elsewhere.

Cassidy deVeer, CHBA-CO president and president of 3rd Generation Homes argues that the biggest challenge that comes with hiring Gen Z is that they believe they should be incentivized and rewarded based on performance, similar to athletes. To avoid wage-related issues with Gen Z, ensure you pay them a competitive salary and financial incentives for learning new skills.

Conduct regular performance reviews and offer rewards for jobs well done. Gen Z is most likely to stay with a company longer if they have high job satisfaction.


Boomer: “I don’t need to go to school. I can get a good job with my high school diploma.”

Gen Z: “I need to go to school to have a competitive resume and get ahead of my competition.”

Gen Z has the highest college enrollment rate compared to previous generations. They believe that they should or must continue their education after high school if they know their career path.

Similarly, while enrolled in post-secondary or training institutes, Gen Z wishes to gain experience and make money at a very young age. Gen Z thinks that to have long-term financial stability, they should earn income and develop their resume outside school.

They are also willing to start at the bottom and work their way up as they are very aware that the best way to grow and learn is by gaining experience and learning on the job.

Hiring Gen Z in the Construction and Trades Industry

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