The following excerpt is from an article by Lucy Barnard posted online at on March 27, 2024.

Shaped by social media, the pandemic and big tech, Gen Zs are entering the jobs market. But what do they want from the construction industry and what effect are these demands having on the industry as a whole?

Young people around the world are asking for higher wages and making it clear that they are not afraid to vote with their feet, frequently changing jobs in order to get a higher salary or a more rewarding role.

A 2023 survey of nearly 54,000 workers in 46 countries and territories by PwC found that 26% said that they planned to quit their job in the next 12 months – up from 19% a year earlier. Moreover, Gen Z – those born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s – made up the largest proportion of those looking to quit with 35% of respondents in that age bracket saying they wanted to move compared with 31% of Millennials – those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s.

For Gen Z, many of whom came of age during the pandemic-fueled Great Resignation, when tens of millions of workers simply left their jobs, and the virtues of walking out on an unrewarding job were documented by everyone from youtube influencers to Beyoncé, leaving a job, even after just a few months, is something to consider.

“Usually, a job change comes with a good raise,” Vanzi adds. “If you really want to keep those professionals, you should offer career advancements. And if you don’t, those young professionals that have great aspirations for the future are going to leave.”

For the construction industry, which is already facing a retirement crisis over the next five years due to its aging demographic and which is already struggling with thousands of unfilled positions, the issue of training and retaining fickle Gen Z workers, across all aspects of the industry, is becoming a make-or-break issue.

Employers across the construction industry report that even though they are trying hard to attract Gen Z workers, both recruiting and retaining them is proving to be a struggle.

Industry-wide staff turnover figures are hard to come by in a hugely fragmented and diverse sector dominated by small scale operators and one-man-bands. However, a telling study of one Lendlease site, Elephant Park in London, found that four years after construction work started, just 54% of the original workforce remained and, of the 46% who left their role, the median employee lasted just 1.2 months in the job.

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