Our senior staff recently participated in a workshop to help identify how we can better serve our clients. As part of the exercise, we participated in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis of our company. One of the threats that we identified (and probably the most important for the future), was “Lack of qualified techs entering the trades.”
Media, and specifically trade magazines, have been sounding alarm bells about the lack of technicians entering the trades over the last 10-15 years. Recently, I heard a “Ted Talk” about our growing population and how a large majority will be entering retirement age in the next 20 years. In Italy, it has been determined that there will not be enough people to work to support the retirement obligations of the future retirees. To avoid this problem, Germany has taken steps to build an education system that will enhance and attract teenagers to pursue a trade. The US is a little behind on this issue. As part of the boomer generation we must ensure that the educational system promotes trade skills.
Babies born during the 1990’s have been referred to as Generation Z, The Homeland Generation and the IGens. So, how do we attract the IGens? Studies have found that the IGens are more entrepreneurial than their predecessors, they are less motivated by money than Generation Y and they are more loyal. So that means, as business owners, we need to give them guidelines and then let them work with an entrepreneurial mindset within that space, while fostering a work environment that allows them to “be their own boss.” If they are less motivated by money, we need to compensate them in other ways, such as flexible work schedules and a system that provides meaningful recognition. If in fact they are more loyal than their predecessors, we must let them know that we appreciate their loyalty and never, ever take advantage of that.
When you come down to it, this generation is really not all that different that the generations before. What I described earlier are really good business practices. What are you going to do to attract them?