Less than third of Gen Z considering career in built environment

A report by three leading built environment sector businesses has found that fewer than one third of Gen Z would consider a career in construction, with 57% of women and girls saying they are put off the industry because they perceive it to be male dominated.

The report also confirmed that the majority of Gen Z are aware of and engaged with the climate emergency, but only one in three see construction as a sector in which they could work to address climate change.

Other reasons for rejecting construction as a career path included beliefs that it is dangerous and dirty, with just under a third of Gen Z citing both reasons, suggesting the industry has work to do to convey its focus on safety and the variety of highly skilled and non-site-based roles available.

The study also found a lack of awareness among Gen Z around the scope to use and develop digital skills in construction, with less than one in three respondents aware that the industry is undergoing a digital transformation and facing similar demand for coders and data scientists as other sectors.

Gen Z respondents cited salary and job security as their main career priorities, but there was a lack of awareness about the scope of construction salaries available, with one in five noting low pay as a reason for rejecting the industry.

Contractor Morgan Sindall Construction, developer HBD, and professional services consultancy Gleeds conducted the research to examine how best to attract, retain and develop the future workforce of the industry.

man in gray and orange jacket holding green and black dslr camera during daytime

Karina Connolly, who works for Morgan Sindall and led the research for the three businesses, said: ‘Our research suggests many Gen Z-ers are simply rejecting property and construction outright due to negative perceptions of the industry. That may be difficult reading for those of us who are passionate about the sector’s evolution, consider ‘dirty’ and ‘dangerous’ to be dated stereotypes, and who are actively engaged in initiatives to address diversity.

‘An equally pressing concern is the lack of awareness among Generation Z about the ongoing digital transformation happening within the industry, and the initiatives progressive businesses are leading as they embrace a shared responsibility to tackle the climate emergency. Both of these areas are critical for construction to make real progress in; they’re also highly dependent on specific green and digital skills which almost every industry is competing for.

‘While businesses, trade bodies, government and education providers work together on commendable initiatives to engage a younger generation, our research suggests they are not cutting through sufficiently. It may be time to re-think the content from these programmes, along with the choice of digital channels used to appeal to Gen Z.’

The research spoke to 1025 young people aged between 16-24 through an online panel, as part of an 18-month research project.

The full report can be read here.

In related news, a new skills centre is set to open after the summer in Stockbridge, offering local young people who struggle with school the chance to gain construction qualifications and hands on experience.

Photo by Scott Blake


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top