How can companies attract top talent through - and beyond - the Great Resignation and post-pandemic labor shortage?
With Millennial and Gen Z employment on the minds of organizations around the world, and the young talent entering the labor market in full force, companies are witnessing a whole new set of expectations when it comes to work life.
We know that these younger generations aren’t looking for the same rewards or financial incentives from their jobs as older generations. Rather that wages and stability being the anchors that help retain them, they’re driven by purpose and flexibility.
Millennials, born between the 80s and 90s, and Gen Z, born after 1997, have grown up connected to technology, with no qualms about only using technology at work or school, so the lines between work and play are naturally blurred for them.
Millennial and Gen Z employment needs challenges traditional sectors
Younger generations entering the workforce have chosen different paths in the new economy, and far fewer are following the traditional path into field service (trade schools, apprenticeships). While at the same time, there’s been a growing talent gap for manufacturers engaged in field service operations due to established manufacturers having their most experienced field professionals approaching retirement – this loss of 20, 30, 40 years of experience is impossible to replace.
This has become a C-Level priority, identified by many service executives as their number one problem. And this challenge is compounded by the growing need for quicker response, higher first-time-fix rates, and the need to provide proactive service before a failure occurs.
This opens the door for a huge case to be made to Millennials and Gen Z employment seekers as to why a career in field service may appeal to them more than the careers suggested by their peers (and parents).
Conversely, companies stand to capitalize from the intuitive use of technology and willingness to work differently found within the younger workforce.
This is a fortunate development for service companies, because it’s not just Millennials who are changing, it’s also the entire labor market. And employment models, like Crowd Service, are poised to accommodate the kind of flexible work-life balance lifestyle that the younger generations are looking for.
7 traits that are important to Millennial and Gen Z employment seekers
Millennial and Gen Z employment: What they want most from employers:
- Purpose in their careers
- Ability to undertake new things so their days aren’t repetitive
- Collaboration among peers and departments
- Incorporating technology into their jobs
- Flexible work options
- Alternative career paths
- Autonomy and trust from their employers
1. Doing something important
Millennials often express an interest in pursuing professions that are meaningful. They want careers from which they can derive a sense of purpose. Though it might not seem so crucial at first glance, fixing equipment used in mission critical applications is in fact incredibly important to the companies relying on it.
It could mean a world of difference when considering the hours of productivity and capital lost to even minimal downtime.
Is it more important than developing a new app? Often, yes. If you’re not going to be a doctor, one of life’s most impactful professions, why not heal the machines doctors rely on? MRI, CT, OR robotics, and vision systems are vital to doctors and patients.
The field service technician is seen as a trusted advisor to customers. So someone seeking valued from his or her work and to provide expertise on the front line directly to customers, will get both job satisfaction and high praise from customers and employers in the field service sector.
Is working on different challenges a desire? Ask any field service pro how many times they’ve had a boring day – no Groundhog Day here.
Part of the fun is the challenge of asking “I wonder what I’m going to face when I walk through this door?” every day.
Millennials and Gen Z are collaborative by nature, and the constantly changing nature of field service work orders demands collaboration. Different machines, configurations, applications, and environments create so many variables that collaboration is essential.
In fact, this is an area many service operations are trying to strengthen by introducing collaboration tools – something the younger tech savvy generation will quickly embrace.
4. Tech tools
Everyone loves new technology, but no one more so than younger generations. Most companies use tablets and iPads, and powerful apps and advanced cloud based software to help field service professionals get the job done quickly and accurately.
Raised on smartphones and iPads, and persistent when it comes to instant access to information and solutions, Millennials are well-situated to understand the demands placed on service technicians. They are also in the best position to embrace the use of technology for solving the issues of the modern workplace.
5. Different office every day
When starting a career, many newcomers to the workforce are apt to insist “I don’t want to work in an office”. Well, field service provides a constantly changing environment with a consistently new set of issues and a regular need for novel solutions.
On top of that, service technicians are not chained to the traditional “9 to 5”. They have the flexibility to determine their own hours while also being part of a contingent workforce.
6. Making money vs. owing money
When one takes the traditional route of a university degree or costly and time-consuming training vocational training, one thing that is virtually guaranteed is a sizable debt and a large time investment. One thing that is not guaranteed: a job after graduation.
With the high demand for field service professionals, it is almost certain that qualified candidates will land a job. And one that pays pretty well. All of that without the worries brought on by a future of debt and questionable earning capacity.
Instead of considering what degree path may or may not work, (and amassing a mountain of student loans), Millennials can choose to work first, gain invaluable skills, make a valuable impact, and have the time, flexibility, and economic leeway to consider the best career path. And even more attractive: many service organizations offer tuition reimbursement, training, and career counseling. On top of that you receive constant recognition for a job well done, daily challenges, job satisfaction, and most likely a secure position once you graduate.
Working in the field often requires on the spot decision-making. Without a supervisor hovering over you, one of the most essential skills field service technicians have to master is how best to solve problems. Armed with tools like augmented reality interfacing and video tutorials, service technicians are given the freedom and trust to reach the best conclusion for each customer.
This kind of autonomous work environment demands independent thinking, keen insight, clever workarounds, and confidence in one’s own abilities. Millennials, accustomed to seeking out information just within reach of their fingertips, are ideally suited to handle the pressure and reap the rewards of satisfying tough customer requests. And this in turn explains the trend towards a gig economy.
It’s time for service providers to rethink their image. In order to attract the next generation of technicians, they have to truly understand what it is Millennials and Gen Z want. And they have to realize that a career in field service is able to provide exactly that!