How to Recruit the Next Generation

Insights_recruitment 18.jpgMany companies are having difficulties recruiting and hiring skilled tradespeople in today’s market. Much of this is due to the “skills gap,” the gap between candidates’ skills/training and the requirements for certain jobs. Unfortunately, it’s a serious problem that shows few signs of improving. According to SkillsUSA, a national organization that provides career and technical education to more than 360,000 high school and college students, there are 5.6 million unfilled skilled jobs today. Of those jobs, 75 percent don’t require a four-year degree. That’s more than 4 million open U.S. jobs that do not require a traditional college education!
 
Even with SkillsUSA and other programs addressing the skills gap, America needs to work on changing the perception of the skilled trades. As a country, we’re discouraging younger generations from considering careers in the trades. Parents, teachers, and guidance counselors are urging students to take the traditional, four year degree path and failing to provide information on careers in the trades.
 
This decades-old guidance has left many industries unable to find qualified individuals, and the problem continues to grow. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reports that nearly 3.5 million new manufacturing jobs likely will be created over the next decade, 2 million of which are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. At the same time, demand for housing construction and other industries also will continue to increase. If we cannot fill these positions with skilled workers now, businesses and homeowners will see more delayed projects and higher home prices.
 
To avoid serious consequences, businesses affected by the skills gap must step up and help recruit the next generation into the skilled trades. Attention-grabbing job descriptions, campaigns, internships, and apprentice programs will help us to encourage younger generations to experience the job flexibility, potentially high wages, and the opportunity for creativity and pride of ownership that comes with a career in the trades.
 
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Businesses that provide skilled jobs need to adjust their strategies to connect better with Millennials and Generation Z, while emphasizing how successful a job in the trades can be. With social media still driving much of the news and other information that younger generations see, it’s a natural platform to run campaigns that introduce young minds to the trades. The breadth of what companies can share on social media, from industry articles to real-life stories of employees’ experiences and job postings, can inspire the next wave of skilled workers in any market. Not only does the information reach a large audience, but it also targets the right audience – your potential recruits.
 
In 2017, Klein Tools developed a successful video campaign that recognized tradespeople throughout the country who transform America’s most iconic places and events into something exciting and magical. The “Tools that Power America’s Passion” video series went behind the scenes to show the world the hard work that electricians do to create unforgettable experiences for the masses, like rocking out to a favorite live band, cheering on a high school football team under the Friday night lights, or watching the parade of lights on Bourbon Street. By highlighting the critical ways that electricians and other tradespeople contribute to unique events around the country, we were able to create a new appreciat