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According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, 70% of its members are having difficulty finding qualified workers. Making the problem more challenging: Many current workers are nearing retirement, which means there will be many more positions to fill in the coming years. Contractors can combat the construction labor shortage by recruiting millennials and Gen Z to their teams. Here are some tips for getting—and keeping—these younger workers on your crew.

1. Recruit Millennials and Gen Z on Social Media
Millennials and Gen Z grew up connected to the internet and social media, so that’s where they’re often looking for jobs. In fact, 73% of employees, aged 18 to 34, reportedly found their last position through social media. Be diligent about posting job openings, upcoming events, project news and industry insights on your company’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

2. Highlight Long-Term Benefits
The 2009 recession was a formative part of millennials’ childhoods, making their long-term financial well-being important to them. Over 80% of millennials believe that all employers should provide a retirement savings option. When discussing compensation with a millennial or Gen Z recruit, consider bringing up any benefits you can offer that will provide them with financial stability in the long run, like a retirement package or health insurance.

3. Provide Professional Development Opportunities
Younger workers are also looking for opportunities for professional development and advancement. Eighty percent of millennials and Gen Z think an emphasis on personal growth is the most important part of a company’s culture. As a contractor, you can work to retain employees by asking what their career aspirations are, then discussing any training or support you can offer to help them achieve their goals.

Construction foreman discusses building plans with construction worker. The foreman is using a digital tablet. Construction woerkers are building new home in the background.
Steve Debenport

4. Recognize Hard Work
Millennials and Gen Z are hungry for feedback. When they’ve put in the hours, they want to know that it’s appreciated. Provide feedback in real time and consider how you can recognize hard work among your team. Set aside a few minutes at the end of team meetings to praise a coworker who has gone the extra mile lately or bring in treats to celebrate an employee’s work anniversary. To younger workers, praise isn’t about gloating; it empowers and motivates them to continue doing great work.

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5. Enable a Healthy Work-Life Balance
No matter how successful you are in recruiting millennials and Gen Z, it’s hard to retain employees without establishing a healthy work-life balance at your company. Think about what you can do to enhance this aspect of your business. Do you offer maternity and paternity leave? Are hours flexible so employees can take time off to attend parent-teacher conferences or appointments? Is overtime required or optional? Younger employees don’t mind hard work, but they do want their employers to care about their well-being.

By following these tips, you can combat the construction labor shortage and recruit and retain millennials and Gen Z to your team. For more tips on how contractors can be successful, visit abcsupply.com/blog.