The construction industry faces a looming challenge in attracting the next generation of workers. A new report by three industry leaders – Morgan Sindall Construction, HBD, and Gleeds – revealed that less than one-third of Gen Z (those born after 1995) would consider a career in the built environment. Here’s the full story.

The Study

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

The report, titled “Are we prepared for Generation Z?” explored key insights into the factors influencing young people’s decisions regarding careers in the built environment and offered recommendations for attracting and retaining talent in the industry.

The Shocking Finding

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

According to the findings, less than one-third of Gen Z individuals, born after 1995, expressed interest in pursuing professions in the built environment. There’s a big reason why: Many women and girls (a whopping 57%) felt that these fields were just for men.

A Lack of Awareness

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

The study also highlighted a lack of awareness among Gen Z regarding the opportunities available in the construction sector to address pressing global issues such as the climate emergency. While a whopping 62% of Gen Z cares deeply about the climate crisis, only a third saw the construction industry as a way to make a real difference.

Misconceptions About the Industry

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

Also, misconceptions about the construction industry exist, with concerns about safety and cleanliness cited as reasons for not pursuing careers in the field. The report shared that the sector needs to better communicate its commitment to safety and the diverse range of technical and non-site-based professions available within the industry.

Not Aware the Developments

Not Aware the Developments
Image Credit: Green Building Elements

Another notable finding was the surprising gap between young people’s perception of construction careers and the reality. While the industry is undergoing a major digital transformation, with jobs increasingly requiring skills like coding and data analysis, less than a third of those surveyed were even aware of this shift.

Problems With Pay

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

The survey further revealed that although construction offers competitive salaries that often exceed the national average, many Gen Z respondents (almost 20%) ruled out construction careers altogether because of misconceptions about low pay.

Not a Good Career Path

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

The study, which spanned an 18-month program of work, involved collaboration among the Gen Z workforce at Morgan Sindall Construction, HBD, and Gleeds. Leading the research, Karina Connolly voiced a growing concern: Young people just don’t see construction as a cool career path.

The Stereotypes Problem

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

The problem according to Connolly was the stubborn stereotypes. Construction is considered dusty, dangerous, and stuck in the past. Connolly explained that we need to bust these myths and show the industry’s exciting transformations.

Looking Ahead

Image Credit: Green Building Elements

To truly connect with Gen Z, Connolly suggested a united front. Businesses, industry groups, the government, and even educators all need to work together to show the exciting opportunities construction offers and build a future-proof workforce ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow’s built environment.

Share Your Thoughts

Share Your Thoughts 1
Image Credit: Green Building Elements

So what do you think? How can the construction industry better communicate the opportunities available to Gen Z and address misconceptions about careers in the built environment?