Bridging the Gap: Positioning Trade Jobs as Tech Jobs to Attract Next-Gen Talent

The number of trade workers from younger generations is getting smaller. Many do not consider skilled trades as career options and this leaves businesses struggling to find qualified employees to fill vacant positions.

Here are steps you can take to get the next generation excited about skilled trade jobs and attract top talent: 

  • Increase local outreach and apprenticeship opportunities
  • Market for the younger talent you want to hire
  • Show your commitment to employee development 
  • Position trade jobs as tech jobs to attract young STEM talent 

Tech-focused local outreach and apprenticeships

Gen Z’s are tech natives, born into the era of smartphones and connected devices. These tech-savvy students want to work, but many are not interested in the traditional four-year, college experience that often comes with a heavy price tag. 

You can offer them an alternative career path that many have never considered, often because they don’t realize that these jobs use tech skills they already possess. According to the data:

  • 12% said they weren’t interested in manual labor
  • 40% said it was due to poor fit
  • 56% said it was their lack of skills

The next generation of talent may believe they are a poor fit or lack the right skills because they’re unsure how to apply their tech skills and overlapping interests to careers in trades.

The multinational manufacturing conglomerate 3M addresses these misconceptions with multiple programs developed for students and teachers to inspire new generations of talent.

How to take action and start building your local talent pool:

Engage with high school and community college programs and clubs. Start with STEM-related topics to connect with students who are interested in tech skills that could be used in the trades. Work with students, teachers, and parents on expanding opportunities to include: class credit, summer programs, and paid internships.   

Partner with local trade schools. You gain early access to potential future hires, and the trade school can provide students with real-world experience.

Create tech-focused apprenticeships. Offering an entry-level tech career option to students can show that your business is innovative and forward-thinking, appealing to today’s younger applicants.

Develop robust onboarding programs. Supportive onboarding programs can give young people with potential the skills and confidence they need to progress in a new field. Companies with solid onboarding programs can have a significant positive impact on a new employee’s experience:

  • 50% greater employee retention from new hires
  • 62% greater productivity from the same group

Marketing for the future talent you want to hire

A survey from Stanley Black & Decker revealed that young people have some misconceptions that stop them from pursuing a career in the skilled trades. 

  • 23% of students think skilled trades work with outdated technology
  • 19% think starting pay is less than $20,000 
  • Only 16% are very likely to consider a trade career, even though 85% value trade jobs

You can flip the script and increase your talent pool by ensuring your marketing aligns with the talent you want to attract.

Steps you can take to market toward top applicants:

Update your visual assets. Every image you use on your website, ads, or social media can be an opportunity to tell one part of that story. 

 

Choose images that

Avoid images that

  • Reflect your company’s culture 
  • Demonstrate the type of work you do
  • Highlight new and interesting technology
  • Promote an inclusive workplace
  • Are generic and could fit any business
  • Match outdated perceptions you’re trying to change
  • Feature old or antiquated equipment

Graphic explaining ways to update visual assets

Use employee stories in your marketing. When talented job seekers see that your employees enjoy working at your company, they are more likely to apply. 86% of them will use company reviews to decide where they should apply.

  • Start by sharing authentic stories that showcase your business’s unique benefits to employees, how new technology is used, and what the training process entails. Whenever possible, demonstrate the importance of long-term employee success at your company.

Share the larger impact of your work. Young job seekers are increasingly looking for opportunities to have a greater impact and meaning. Your business can stand out by showing them how their work will contribute to a larger purpose.

Present your impact statement prominently on your website and social media channels, describe how your company is making a difference, and highlight any volunteer opportunities or organizations that your business supports. 

Commit to employee development and career growth

Consider a new approach to hiring from within by highlighting the opportunities for career growth and development at your company. This can help you stand out among competitors and attract a younger generation of talent.

What incentives are you offering to attract people

Source: angi.com/research/reports/skilled-trades

Upskill your best people. This analysis from McKinsey & Company, suggests that as industries change, training and development of your current workforce is critical to your company’s success.

Consider the return on investment in programs like these:

On-the-job training. Hiring for potential and training through hands-on experience is an effective way to keep or gain a competitive advantage in any job market. By reducing some of the barriers to entry, you can bring in younger applicants with less experience who are eager to learn and grow within the company.

Classroom learning. Show a commitment to employee development and position the company as an industry leader by investing in additional education for your employees. 

Many employers are more than willing to invest in their employees who want to put in the hard work, by providing tuition reimbursement for coursework related to their job. By partnering with local schools, businesses can create a list of pre-approved courses that employees can take to improve their job-related skills.

Mentorship programs. Pairing senior-level tradespeople with those just starting out can help develop leadership skills while promoting a culture of collaboration and innovation within your business. 

Showing the opportunity for growth and assistance through programs like these can inspire new hires and help retain your most talented employees.

Create job ads that attract top tech talent

Remember, you’re competing with every other business for each applicant. Your ad needs to stand out from the rest. 

Tips for writing a compelling job ad:

Think about why your ideal candidate should choose you. Instead of simply listing the qualifications and duties of the position, take the time to paint a picture of what it would be like to work for your company. 

Answer these questions:

  • What are their values?
  • What makes them happy?
  • What is their interest in technology?
  • What motivates them?

Candidates who feel a connection to your company and your values are more likely to stick around, so it’s worth taking the time to get to know them.

Use job titles that highlight new technology. Your job title should be reflective of the position itself and be something that will grab the attention of job seekers. Adding new technology keywords in the job title is a good way to signal that your company is on the cutting edge. 

Write a job summary that matters to the candidate. Describe the key responsibilities of the role, what a typical day looks like, the technology involved, and how they will be compensated. Give potential candidates a complete understanding of what to expect from the role. 

By taking the time to craft a well-written job summary, you will increase your chances of finding a candidate who is a good fit for your business.

Keep your ad personality-focused. Younger generations often look for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in their careers. They’re also looking for a company with a strong community culture and work that impacts them. 

This will help you stand out from the competition and attract the ideal personality type for each position.

Emphasize transferable skills in your trade job ads. Identify the essential non-technical skills that your ideal candidate could have developed socially, professionally, or at school. 

Highlighting those transferable skills will attract a more diverse pool of applicants who are interested in new technology and can quickly learn new systems. Some examples are:

  • Technical skills – describe the basic competence level required
  • Communication skills – verbal, listening, and/or written communication
  • Teamwork skills – the ability to work effectively with others
  • Leadership skills – the ability to inspire and motivate others

Have a hiring expert review your ad: Just like any skill, nailing the perfect job ad takes practice. Our hiring coaches have years of experience in recruiting and can offer personalized advice on how to find the best candidates for your business. 

Our expert hiring coaches:

  • Quality check each ad for best-in-class structure
  • Provide expert advice on job ad placement and best practices
  • Give job ad optimization tips for top job-board visibility

Ready to grow your business with the next generation of talent? Wizehire can help. Book a hiring strategy session today. 

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