For at least the past two years, we have been talking about the uptick in workers changing jobs and moving into other industries. Now we have fancy names for it: the Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle, or, as I like to say, The Great Job Hop. I can even attest I have witnessed this firsthand with my own children joining The Great Job Hop. Here is my question: Is it a marketing spin that has all these really smart people moving around or is something else at play here?
Journey back in time with me for a minute. In January 2019, a full year before we were already entrenched in all the talk about the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting both our personal and professional lives, I penned these very words in a Constructech blog.
“Generation Z is growing in numbers. Pew Research Center reports that Gen Z, as they are known, currently is 70 million strong, comprising of some 32% of the global population. Gen Z will make up about 7.7 billion of the world population in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials in less than a year. Currently, millennials outnumber all generations at this point, but Zillow reports by 2020, Gen Z will surpass millennials by nearly 1 million.
It’s really important to understand how Gen Z thinks and operates …
Here’s why: This segment of the population is showing that they are entrepreneurial and that they like to work independently or face-to-face, if needed. Like millennials, Gen Zs are good at multitasking and more than anything seek knowledge, very uniquely in their own personal way …
Not surprisingly, they can’t imagine a world without being connected. As a result, they demand immediacy and have a shorter attention span. The good news is that they are also collaborative and they can make decisions very quickly. And I mean fast. They seek environments that have core teaching and methodologies that can keep pace with the changes that are occurring with their views. That means upping your game in new workforce training models and stepping it up when it comes to new approaches for skill-building at all levels for our trades.”
Jump forward, and we all know what happened next: a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and businesses struggling to keep up, all amid worker upheaval. In December 2021, some 4.3 million Americans left a job or changed positions. Many are pointing to the pandemic as the initial cause—and yes it has probably accelerated the trend—but I am not convinced this wouldn’t have happened regardless of what was bubbling beneath the surface already.
And now, this generation of Screeners, as I like to call them, is jumping ship and looking for very specific job-life balance. To be candid, even my own children have declared they don’t want to work the hours that I have, but still want to be rewarded for their efforts.
Here at Constructech, we have been talking about the worker shortage—and how the different generations factor in—long before the word pandemic became common dinner conversation. The younger generations—Millennials and those even younger—were job hopping before the pandemic made it cool. Quite simply, they wanted something different out of a career—and it is the company’s responsibility to show them what a career in construction can be.
Admittedly, this comes at perhaps the worst time for companies. Crafting this messaging during a pandemic was easier said than done. Add to that the fact that in industries like manufacturing, construction, logistics/supply chain, to name a few, the worker shortage is slowing production, projects, and causing some companies to turn down projects due to the lack of a workforce, and companies have enough on their plates.
However, if management and, the company in general, wants to hire the right workers, they will need to ask themselves the hard question. Are you willing to make some changes and be more open and transparent? The goal here is to attract, select, and retain the best people possible. In today’s ever-changing market, those three words are a lot easier said than done when finding the best candidates.
Employees are looking to solve a real problem in their personal lives, and they are looking for a job to make it better and easier. There has been a real disconnect with company management, employee expectations, and small budgets to accommodate needs.
Today however, many employers are seeing they must change to get the best of the best candidates. Now industries of all sizes and shapes are changing their ways to meet the hiring demand. Some of this in the form of larger salaries, stock, signing bonuses, hybrid work, flex hours, and more.
Today’s worker demands more and getting it. If employers don’t deliver some of these perks, so to speak, candidates are instantly using social media, Twitter or whatever means possible, to share their experiences. It’s about instant feedback, good or bad.
It’s been a whirlwind journey for companies and their employees who keep moving on year after year. We are all experiencing the rollercoaster adventure and as we continue to weather the Great Job Hop we will see how each industry fares. Are you prepared now to recruit the best candidates today?
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