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Research Report

How skilled trades can meet these 3 needs of millennials and Gen Z in the workplace

February 17, 2022 , By Sarah Woll, Research Analyst

Some say millennials and Generation Z speak a different language, and in some ways they do. Here’s the tea[1]: since millennials and Gen Z now make up nearly half (46%) of the full-time workforce in the United States, employers must understand what these groups want to successfully attract them into the workplace.

But recruiting staff from these generational cohorts into skilled trades positions does not require hiring a translator. Instead, EAB identified three things millennials and Gen Z are looking for in a career and how campus Facilities positions fulfill them. No cap.[2]

  • 46%

    of the full-time U.S. workforce is comprised of millennial and Gen Z workers

What do millennials and Gen Z look for in the workplace?

1. An employer who cares about their wellbeing

Benefits such as paid time off, mental health days, positive workplace culture, and team-building opportunities are valued highly among young adults. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, providing employees a sense of community is more important now than ever.

Many universities offer their employees mental health resources, comprehensive benefits, networking opportunities, and the chance to form a close-knit community of peers while working for a mission-driven organization. Highlighting these aspects of higher education employment in the trades can help set your institution’s offer apart.

“If you hire and want to retain millennial and Gen Z employees, it is almost certainly essential that you address mental/behavioral health with the same vigor as physical health to achieve a strong and healthy workforce.” -Michelle Hopkins, Concentra


2. Career growth and advancement opportunities

Millennial and Gen Z employees tend to seek out jobs that provide a mentorship and professional development experience that will prepare them to be well-rounded and versatile employees. University apprenticeship and career development programs offer many opportunities for participants to improve their skills and continuously grow in their area of expertise through on-the-job training, technical education, and classroom instruction.

For example, apprentices at University of Arkansas and University of Virginia train on the job with licensed journeymen, mentors, supervisors, and other colleagues who ensure the highest-quality Facilities Management for the universities.


3. Flexible hours and good pay

As a Business Insider article put it, “Millennials paved the way for a change in better flexibility and wellbeing at work, but Gen Z is turning it from a workplace perk to workplace norm.” Many millennials and Zoomers[3] are interested in alternatives to the traditional nine-to-five schedule and want to find lucrative careers that don’t require taking out a large amount of student debt to establish themselves.

A career in skilled trades can be the perfect solution by providing employees the flexibility to choose which shift works best for their lifestyle, as well as the opportunity to earn a steady and high-paying income at a fraction of the cost of a traditional degree.


[1] Tea: Another word for gossip or sharing something interesting.

[2] No cap: A term used to emphasize that a statement isn’t a lie or hyperbole.

[3] Zoomers: A nickname referring to members of Generation Z, those born in the late 90s and early 2000s.

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