It is a common refrain in our society that it is hard for young people to find jobs. There are many reasons for this, from economic uncertainty limiting the creation of new positions to insufficient salaries and benefits for qualified applicants. On the other hand, there are a number of fields which are not typically considered by the average young person, but which have a large need for workers. Foremost among industries experiencing a labor shortage is the field of construction.
Unfortunately, construction jobs no longer seem to appeal to rising generations as they once did. According to Builder Magazine, of the 74% of young Americans who have decided on a preliminary career path, only 3% have expressed an interest in construction and a whopping 63% say they’ll give the industry little or no consideration. By another estimate, for every 5 skilled workers who retire, there is only 1 new worker entering construction.
Why is this the case? We’ve written in the past about the negative stigma surrounding manual labor which creates misconceptions about what it is really like to work in industries like construction. Many young people associate construction with dangerous work or with low pay. However, these assumptions are often false, making education and awareness one of our most consistent recommendations for combating the skilled labor shortage.
So, with the goal of contributing to the re-education of the public (especially those rising generations who are beginning to look for jobs) about the amazing opportunities to be found in construction careers, here are 3 Reasons Young People Should Enter Construction:
1. Construction Work Is Safer than Ever Before
Millennials were raised by cautious parents who guarded their physical safety above all else. Thus, younger generations are often wary of assumed safety hazards in the construction field. However, construction safety has progressed immensely over the last decade. Not only are construction machines equipped with many more fail-safe systems, but safety training is also far more rigorous.
Moreover, workers’ gear and equipment is always making greater advancements in safety and efficiency. Every company has safety guidelines related to labor and equipment operation. All elements of the job, down to the vests and helmets, are closely inspected and regulated. There are even online resources that provide information on work-boot models available on the market and their distinct safety features.
2. Higher Salaries than Other Fields
It’s no secret that one of the biggest struggles of younger generations is achieving financial security. Having stable income and little debt is a major concern, but it can be difficult for millennials, fresh on the job market, to adapt to an ever-changing economic landscape.
Yet while a plurality of young people assume that construction only pays $50,000/year or much less, building work can actually lead to careers with higher salaries than many other fields. Thus, jobs in construction are not only appealing for their availability, but also because they can lead to lifelong careers that provide well financially for young people and their families.
3. Most of Your Work Involves Technology
Another common misconception that young people have about the construction field is that it’s all overly-difficult, manual labor and zero fun. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nowadays, on-site work relies heavily on advanced technology and machinery. The trend toward smart and autonomous technology will only continue to grow, transforming construction into an industry where workers have to work closely with groundbreaking technological innovations.
Millennials are well-known for being drawn to emerging technology and construction is an industry where they could be some of the first to test-run and implement brand-new machinery — and get paid to do so!! Of course, there will still be a need for laborers to get down and dirty — and do some hard-work — but today’s builders are also modern and evolved, creating a perfect environment for committed, innovative young people.
Conclusion: At the end of the day, construction is challenging, rewarding, safe, profitable, and entering a revolutionary age of technological advancements. For these reasons, and more, we’d encourage any young person looking for work to consider a career in construction. So to all those job-searching millennials out there, construction is a field that needs workers and – trust us – it’s even better than you may think!
What do you think? What do you think are the biggest reasons to enter the construction industry? Let us know in the comments below!
Vince West is a recent MassBay Engineering Design graduate.