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By Megan Wild
April 10, 2017
When millennials began to enter the workforce, many labeled them as job hoppers who moved from place to place to get better jobs. In reality, 2016 saw the lowest number of same-county moves since the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking the trend in 1948. Couple this with the fact that there are now more millennials than Generation X workers, and it's easy to see the inaccuracy of some of these early assumptions.
Now that the housing market has recovered from the recent recession, builders are starting to resume their efforts around the country. Since millennials are staying in one place and taking jobs that will keep them there for the long haul, this also means there are more opportunities to build housing to meet that demand.
Proactive builders are taking considerable interest in high-growth areas for their new construction projects. As 2016 saw almost a 24 percent rise in demand for apartment rentals in large metro areas compared to 2015, amounting to a total of 328,559 individual units, it's easy to see how you can bolster your company's profitability by focusing on rental properties.
These numbers reached their peak in the final quarter of 2016, ultimately surpassing 2015's fourth-quarter figures by a factor of six. Many business owners are taking this as a sign that apartments, condos, and other rental properties are areas for growth.
Why is this happening? With the level of their existing debt or inability to afford a down payment on a home, many millennials are interested in renting instead of buying. Again, this results in even more demand for multi-family structures. Since the issue of student loan debt is being only minimally addressed at the state and federal government levels, you can expect the trend of renting to continue.
The sudden boom in construction could affect other industries, too. Companies that supply raw materials, such as wood or steel, are in a great position to experience soaring profits. Structural steel, for example, has already seen increased usage throughout regions that are prone to heavy winds and rain. Structural concrete guards against environmental damage, so it's also useful in these areas. As climate change also makes weather more extreme, you can expect these kind of materials to experience a surge in demand.
Depending on your region, you may experience a sudden uptick in interest in rental properties. Millennials have been flocking to cities and major metropolitan areas for the past few years. Some of the most popular areas include Jacksonville, FL, which touted a job growth of nearly 4% in 2016; Grand Rapids, MI; and Colorado Springs, CO. Florida provides plenty of rental opportunities in general, and other options abound in Arizona, Texas, and South Carolina.
The trend of millennials staying at jobs longer than expected not only has implications for the housing market––it also will impact your workforce. By building rental properties in desirable areas and staffing your roster with younger workers, you can build a reputation centered on the millennial generation.
Smart targeting of this generation will be crucial to your efforts. Some experts predict a decline in millennial workers within the coming years, particularly within construction-related jobs. According to recent reports, the industry will see an increase in the share of workers aged 55-plus while seeing less interest from younger employees.
To combat that, you might need to adopt some new strategies in recruitment, retention, and even compensation. According to a study by Deloitte, many millennials feel invested in their employers’ actions regarding philanthropy and charity. By giving back, you could attract these young adults to your workforce.
The majority of millennials also prefer the security of full-time employment over the freedom and flexibility of a freelance or consultancy role. Once again, this is in stark contrast to the most popular preconceptions of the millennial workforce. Offering them stable employment would go a long way toward drawing them to construction jobs.
Millennials make for great general laborers, too, especially if you specialize in building rental properties. Their typical skill sets revolve around communication, creativity, and versatility, so they're an excellent fit for construction roles and responsibilities that change on a day-to-day basis. Some are even interested in temporary positions, which is perfect when you need someone to fill in occasionally and meet project deadlines.
As the most educated generation to date, it’s worth your time to invest in millennials. Now that we've gotten rid of some of the most common misconceptions surrounding the movement of the millennial generation, it's time to focus on their skills and abilities within the modern workforce. Known for high levels of energy and flexibility, the average millennial worker can give your construction company a real edge over companies that write them off as job hoppers. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
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