‘Soft’ Gen Z tradies with ‘bad attitudes’ to blame for labor shortage in building industry, experts warn
The building industry faces labor shortages as Gen Z calls it hard-working
Experts warn that the current labor shortage in the construction industry is due to the ‘bad attitude’ of Gen Z tradespeople.
Australia is experiencing a severe shortage of skilled tradespeople, with the Housing Industry Association reporting that the situation is at its worst in two decades.
The shortfall has been attributed to a variety of factors, including an aging workforce, reduced government investment in vocational training and the Covid pandemic.
But some industry experts believe a generational shift in attitudes is to blame for the crisis, claiming the Gen Z cohort – those born between 1997 and 2012 – have ‘soft’ and ‘entitled’ attitudes.
Some experts claim that Gen Z’s ‘soft’ and ‘entitled’ attitude is to blame for the labor shortage plaguing the construction industry (stock image)
Employment expert and recruitment director Graham Wynne says it’s one of the toughest hurdles he’s faced in his 15 years working in the industry.
‘I think there’s a lot of it. You can use the words “soft” or “lazy”, but there are many things that make those terms realistic,’ he told news.com.au.
‘I think part of the problem is that initially, with tradies, there’s a Gen Z problem of needing instant gratification.
‘They come in and want to build things on day one, but don’t realize that it takes years of hard work and dedication’.
Mr Wynn said this sentiment was not limited to tradies, but was representative of the general attitude of Gen Z workers across the board.
‘Many feel they don’t need to work, because they stay at home too long and watch others on TikTok and succeed as “influencers” for not doing much,’ he said.
He also said he believed parents were partly to blame for ‘softening them too much’.
Employment expert and recruitment director Graham Wynne believes Gen Z seeks ‘instant gratification’ and is unwilling to put in years of work needed to get ahead.
Evan Turner, managing director of Perth’s Watershed Building Company, says Gen Z is the “now now” generation who can get everything on demand.
‘No one wants to wait. They think they’re going to land an apprenticeship, and work at the same level as a very experienced trader on their first day,’ he said.
But Adam Wright, founder and CEO of Building Principal, believes the shift in attitude exhibited by Gen Z is due to their desire for a higher standard of living.
‘I think it’s not so much a generational “softening”, but a change in society’s expectations,’ Mr Wright said.
Lack of skilled tradespeople is the number one reason for delays in new home construction (stock image)
Earlier this year, the Housing Industry Association reported that a lack of skilled trades was the number one problem in new home construction.
HIA Senior Economist Tom Davitt said, ‘For more than two years, Australian housebuilders have been starting more new projects than completing them.
The impact of skilled labor shortages on construction can be significant, resulting in delays, increased labor costs, and poor quality workmanship.
Many contractors are forced to pay higher wages to attract workers, which increases labor costs for the homeowner.
Delays in completing construction projects due to skilled labor shortages can also result in additional costs, such as increased rent or accommodation fees.