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The Construction Industry’s Struggle for Young Workers

By Merhawi Kidane on February, 7 2022

Despite the growing consumer demand for construction projects, there’s still many roadblocks that are halting construction home builders from hitting their goals for 2022. 

For years now, construction has not only dealt with a lack of diversity regarding gender and race - but the industry also struggles in attracting younger workers. 

Which is an area of particular importance, because a growing number of construction pros are transitioning over to the 55 and older age range - which indicates that many construction professionals may retire in the near future

The graph below better illustrates how employees within the 18 to 34 age range are underrepresented in construction when compared to the total labor force. 


How to Attract Younger Workers to Construction Roles

Construction not only needs more young people to fill vacant roles, but younger employees are foundational for sustainable workplaces.

HR teams at construction companies should pay close attention to the following methods that can motivate younger applicants to stay in your pipeline, while also strengthening your company with increased diversity levels.

Hiring technology offers next-generation experiences

When a young applicant is met with a dated interface that isn’t mobile-ready, this increases the likelihood of them falling out of the pipeline and going with a different role.

Young workers want intuitive, modern interfaces that make it easy to move through the hiring funnel. And investing in strong candidate experiences helps your construction firm stand out from other companies recruiting from the same pool.

Don’t underestimate mobile-first interfaces

The number one rule of communication is to meet people where they are, this is particularly true in the world of recruiting. When it comes to modern-day job seekers, 90% currently use mobile phones to search for jobs while 45% do so on a daily basis. In fact, the graph below offers some interesting insight on the specific locations people are most likely to search for work while on mobile.



Build specific, on-target job descriptions 

Whenever you copy and paste descriptions straight from Google or some other source, you may end up excluding the exact type of candidate that you’re looking to attract. Not only that, but you also risk not accurately positioning the role and your company. 

As a result, applicants who apply are more likely to be mismatched for the role - increasing the likelihood of a bad hire and all the pitfalls that come with it: performance issues, burnout, turnover, and poor collaboration. 

An effective method of combating this is by utilizing a job analysis that allows you to quickly uncover the mindset, competencies, and skills that are most relevant for success within your roles. Once equipped with this information, building accurate job descriptions becomes much easier. 

Evaluate candidates for the qualities that matter most 

Whenever you have unnecessary qualifications like requiring certain years of experience, this inherently limits the size of your candidate pool and hurts your chances of finding people that can learn and grow within the role. Also, hiring teams should note that even the most experienced candidates may have habits that need to be unlearned in order to thrive at your company.

This is where I-O Expert developed assessments work as an advantage - they allow HR teams to measure both hard and soft skills to make a truly informed decision. Candidates with non-construction experience may have transferable skills that suit the vacant role. It’s also useful in assessing the skills of under qualified candidates in some areas but very strong in others, so you can identify what training they may need.

Last thoughts

The construction industry’s hiring practices have reached a turning point, and younger workers are needed to fill vacant roles and lead the next generation of inclusive construction workspaces and culture. 

The tips above can help open the door to younger talent, you should also test-drive HighMatch's pre-employment assessments that were written by experts with 15+ years of experience working with construction companies. Click here to request your own personalized demo


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