A growing number of people want to live in sustainable homes. Plus, many governments set sustainability and net-zero emissions goals. They need construction experts to help them meet those goals. These trends have a direct and positive effect on the construction industry. Professionals working in the sector who are responsible for recruiting new team members should keep in mind that they need to shift with the times, too.
A 2017 study from the Climate Defense Fund indicates that the sustainability sector employs approximately 4.5 million people. That number represents an increase of more than a million workers compared to when the organization did the same research in 2011.
Then, a 2019 survey from AMLI Residential polled more than 3,500 people who live in the brand's apartment buildings to learn about their feelings on the environment and their desire to live in sustainable apartment buildings. Almost 89% of respondents admitted concern about climate change, while 80% of people believed that living in a green apartment building was good for their health.
The increase in sustainable job options and the interest of consumers concerning protecting the planet and potentially living in green homes are all positive signs for the construction industry. The people tasked with recruiting new team members must take a dedicated approach to attract new workers. Here are some ideas:
Offer Specialized Job Training Programs
Some people may feel interested in sustainable construction but believe there's no feasible way to obtain the training they need to get into the industry. Construction companies could consider offering fast-track programs that give participants the knowledge they need. They may also provide people with a guaranteed job at the end of the training if they achieve a minimum score on a readiness test, for example.
An initiative in Chattanooga, Tennessee called Build It Green is the work of an environmental nonprofit that aims to reach underserved communities by offering a 12-week sustainable construction program. Besides giving paid education, the program enables people to graduate with some safety certifications that'll help them stand out from other applicants when they look for work.
This tactic is an excellent way to get people interested in sustainable construction and help them see it's an accessible career path. Also, if construction companies offer individuals jobs afterward, that approach ensures the new hires have about the same level of knowledge when they start. Then, enterprises spend less time getting people ready to work.
It's ideal if the construction companies offering training programs emphasize how people will get exposed to new technologies. Enterprises can specifically mention how learning about them now gets them better prepared for the future.
Highlight the Chances to Work on Exciting, Sustainable Projects
Something particularly appealing about the sustainable construction sector is how it gives people opportunities to contribute to projects that may be especially innovative or the first of their kind in an area. For example, when Utah opened a new community called Living Zenith, it was the state's first net-zero living option. Participating construction companies were able to innovate to help the community generate as much energy as they use in a year.
If sustainable construction teams put their efforts toward those kinds of projects, they'll undoubtedly get engrossed in learning about new techniques, materials and more. Plus, it's a great conversation starter for a person to reveal that they're working on a pioneering project that's good for the planet.
Some sustainability projects target multiple long-standing needs, too. For example, Jonathan Webb launched a startup called AppHarvest. He envisions a plan that gives residents in a region of Appalachia access to nutritious food grown in a greenhouse that needs significantly less water than traditional growing techniques.
Even better, Webb anticipates that his company will create 100 new construction jobs and more than 250 full-time positions. Poverty and difficulties finding employment are problematic in the area, but AppHarvest could turn things around.
Construction companies should consider future opportunities, too. As governments and businesses respond to climate concerns, green construction and energy initiatives is likely to keep growing, with job creation directly linked to sustainability. Other sustainability plans could give construction professionals more ways to get involved in projects that make a difference.
Focus on Young People's Demand for a Greener Future
Younger generations have recently shown they're not willing to sit back while concerns about the planet get worse. In March 2019, thousands of high schoolers skipped classes to march in the Global Climate Strike. Construction companies can take that enthusiasm into account while recruiting. For example, they might arrange to speak at a high school or represent their brands at a school job fair.
Some young people feel helpless about what's happening to the planet. They want to do anything to motivate changes. Construction companies can spark teenagers' interest in the field by discussing how they can make positive impacts on the future by working on buildings and other projects that show responsibility toward the planet and protecting it for current and future generations.
High schools are already helping students get involved in some parts of the country. For example, students at a school in the District of Columbia start learning about green construction in ninth grade. Then, they have chances to put their skills to use by doing things such as building structures that are part of the Tiny House movement.
Sustainability Can Play a Role in Recruitment
Construction companies cannot continue to rely on the same recruitment techniques that worked for them before. It's time to update them by taking recent trends into account. The suggestions mentioned here can help them get started.