In today’s article, you’ll find five insights that can help shape a new image (or brand as I like to call it) for the construction industry. A new way of thinking. A new way of communicating.
I’ve listened back to discussions I’ve had with interesting people in the industry. And highlighted some of their key points. Points that many companies can implement today. Not tomorrow. Not in Q2. Today!
First up. Zoey O’Rourke, Head of Business Development at PHD Access. Zoey first started her career as a teacher, and then transferred to the industry a number of years ago. So, she has a well-rounded perspective.
“I think we need to promote the stability of the construction industry. Look what happened with COVID. Other industries were furloughed, but construction powered through and came out the other end. Many young people still want this stability.
We are making the right steps, but why aren’t we promoting it? Why don’t young people know about it? It’s down to communication, we have to be proactive in communicating our message.”
Next up. Tiernan Dixon. Creative Director at Rocket Communications. BITAx Vice Chairman. A guy who has worked in the industry for all of his working life.
“Working adults in other industries are looking at the opportunities they could have in construction. And it’s not just financial opportunities. Many lifestyle benefits, and you can start businesses quite easy”
“The second part of the equation is the workforce that aren’t even in work yet. Gen Z. It’s a whole different question you’ve got to ask them. It’s more individualistic. Looking at people as a whole. It’s looking at companies’ corporate social values around sustainability & inclusivity. And how we can communicate and promote that in an effective way.
These might be fleeting thoughts for people running businesses but they are a robust part of the identity of this next generation”
Loved that last point from Tiernan. “Fleeting thoughts from people running businesses.” It hits home.
Next to join the discussion is Steve Kerslake, Founder of Construction Sport. An epic concept by the way. Check them out.
“We can’t stand here as an industry and wait for people to come to us. People will find us at senior level positions, coming up through university level. But that’s a different level. At a trades level, we need to go to these people, whether it’s through better communication, sports clubs or building out an effective ex-offenders strategy. These people are looking for opportunities, and want to work hard so we must promote these opportunities more.”
Kara Thompson, Director & Head of Project Management at Vengrove gave some fascinating insights. Insights that drove nearly 10k worth of views to a clip I recently shared.
“There’s a few reasons why we are struggling to attract. It’s the second worst sector in terms of digitisation. You look at the next generation, it’s all about tech. It’s how they are being brought up, it’s how they are learning, it’s everything to them.
We’re looking at an industry that is far behind. It’s archaic. And has a long long way to go. So, there is no natural enticement to the industry.
Some of the other industries like media, tech, & health. You’ve got the likes of the Gymshark’s, and Stephen Bartlett’s of this world offering amazing opportunities on LinkedIn every day.
I think there is also an element where kids at school just don’t know about the opportunities. I didn’t know project management was a job, and a really great job. We have to somehow ingest this love for the built environment into kids. We live, work and play in the built environment. It’s too important not to promote it!”
Danny Meaden, Learning & Employment Coordinator at Lendlease gave me a great ground floor insight into how the industry can change for the better.
“It’s all about awareness. We have to let young people see someone who looks like them. Create role models. We have to keep promoting to schools the opportunities that are available in the industry. Different department leaders need to talk about their roles, not just focus on what happens on site but other positions.
Building sites can be intimidating places from the outside looking in. That’s why we need to keep offering work experience. We need to invite kids out to sites, and let project managers explain to them that this is a safe place to work, and that building sites aren’t these muddy places like they were before”
It’s fair to say that this article is Part 1 of a series. Looking forward to sharing more like it.