Why a workforce shortage: Reaching the new workforce is more than a help wanted ad

Written with the assistance of the National Asphalt Pavement Association Graphics courtesy of National Asphalt Pavement Association

“Back in my day” is a common phrase uttered by older generations. For example, “Back in my day, we walked uphill both ways to school in waist-deep snow.” Or, “Back in my day, we got our news from the paper or the barbershop.” The same could be said about looking for and advertising jobs. Many people who are part of the Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial generations found their first jobs looking through the Help Wanted ads in the local and national newspapers or by going to work for family and friends. But today, people get their news or learn about employment opportunities virtually.

Based on research conducted by GolINTEL, the research group at NAPA consultant Golin, people rely on TV and social media to get information. As seen over the last decade, the newspaper and magazine industries have struggled to remain solvent. Many launched virtual platforms, while others have shut down. People are reading less print media and watching more TV (i.e., local and cable) as well as using online resources (i.e., news and social media). Unsurprisingly, social media sites vary by generation. Facebook is still the primary news source for Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. However, Gen Z, the first digitally native generation and our emerging workforce, use Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumbler, along with Facebook, to get and share information. So, companies seeking to grow, and in the process, understand our diverse workforce, also need new ways to target that workforce.

As you seek to fill open positions, consider the following questions. Does your company rely on conventional approaches to advertise available jobs? Do you produce Facebook ads? Have you thought about a well-produced, short video spotlighting your organization and what opportunities exist? Research by Facebook and others have shown videos are more impactful than a text or graphic ad. To attract your new workforce, consider your target audience and the best way to reach them.

To learn more about NAPA’s Workforce Development Findings, read Special Report 227 on asphaltpavement.org.