Three-quarters of young adults in the United States are sure about the field in which they want to have a career. And only 3 percent of those say they are interested in the construction trades‒- as many as are looking to follow a career in performing arts and government. That’s according to a national poll of adults ages 18 to 25, conducted recently by the National Association of Home Builders.
By the same math, the number of young adults who know they want a career in construction is the same as those hoping to pursue performing arts and government. That’s more than those hoping to pursue a military career or a career as a mechanic.
Most of that 3 percent interested in the construction sector named good pay and the attainment of useful skills as the most important benefits of the job. About 15 percent said the seasonality of the work was a benefit and a little more than a third said a major benefit to the construction career path is that it does not require a college degree.
On the other end of this dynamic, though, is the remaining quarter of young adults who are uncertain what they want to do for a living. When it comes to construction, it would appear from NAHB’s survey that young adults are either specifically interested in a construction trades career or are utterly not interested.
Nearly two-thirds of undecided young adults said there was little or no chance they’d consider a construction career, even with better. About 20 percent said they would consider construction if the pay were high‒‒as in $75,000 to $100,000 a year. Forty-three percent said even $100,000 a year would not sway them to the field.
The gender breakdown of those who might reconsider was not even. While 52 percent of men said they’d consider construction if the pay were higher, 37 percent of women said the same. But overall, only 13 percent of young adults polled said construction tradespersons could command higher salaries.
Almost half of those uninterested in construction no matter what said they would want a less physically demanding job. Another third said they believe construction work is difficult. A quarter specifically said they wanted office jobs.
Interestingly, close to the same percentage that cited seasonality as an appeal for a construction job said seasonality was a major detriment (15 percent). Twenty percent of young adults said they would rather start their own business than work in construction, but none of those entrepreneurs seemed interested in starting their own business in construction.