The construction industry will lose a fifth of its workforce to retirement.

With the construction industry facing its biggest skills shortage since 2007, it’s more vital than ever that the industry recruits new talent to its ranks. In fact, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believes that more than 200,000 skilled workers are needed by the mid-2020s.

It doesn’t help that the industry is also suffering from an ageing workforce. Data from the 2011 census showed that one in five employees in the construction industry were aged over 55. This means that by 2020 the industry will lose a fifth of its workforce to retirement — without enough newcomers to replace them.

The clear solution is to attract young workers to close the skills gap and ensure that there’s enough manpower for the construction industry to hit its targets.

However, it’s not that simple.

Break down preconceptions

The industry is still seen as undesirable to young people, with only 10% showing an interest in a career in construction. This study by L&Q Group found that 50% of the young people surveyed were interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), yet the construction industry was described as “challenging and unexciting”.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Below, health and safety experts 3B explores what steps can be taken by construction companies, and the industry as a whole, to remove the stigma young people have with construction and how to attract a new, vibrant workforce.

1. Pique their interest

Although manual labour is still a huge aspect of construction, there’s a lot more on offer than hard hats and muddy boots.

Whether it’s drones, 3D printing or augmented reality, the construction industry has embraced innovations in tech and can offer exciting roles that simply aren’t available in other sectors. As a generation that lives and breathes technology, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for young people to get involved in.

The industry has already begun to better educate young people on some of the exciting roles in construction. However, it needs to start shouting louder about the revolutionary technology and range of career opportunities available to attract the future talent it needs.

2. Perks are key

Perks were once seen as a retention tool for employers as a way to keep their employees sweet.

Today, though, things are different., A survey by Perkbox found that Generation Z (your future workforce) value workplace perks more than any other generation. 36% claim that it can make a big difference when choosing where to work.

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