Hourly work has changed significantly in the past two decades, with many blue-collar jobs (particularly in manufacturing and construction) declining in number. But so-called “pink collar” hourly jobs have been soaring, with employment in educational services, healthcare and social assistance increasing substantially. In fact, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed four of every 10 jobs that the United States economy added in December 2016 were in healthcare or social assistance. The boom is expected to last for at least another decade.
Even with the positive job growth, pink collar industries face demographic headwinds, and hiring managers in these fields need to be ahead of the issues to attract and retain top Millennial employees. In these fast-growing industries, it can be difficult to find enough qualified, new workers to fill jobs — finding the best employees and keeping them around is even tougher.
Pink-collar jobs tend to skew heavily female, particularly in healthcare and education. The ratio of women to men in health care fields such as home health aides, medical assistance and registered nurses is 9:1, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many men feel unsuited for pink-collar work or are simply uninterested in working in a field so dominated by women, leaving hiring managers with a smaller potential workforce.
Hiring managers in pink-collar industries are thus facing a two-pronged challenge: Find, attract and retain the smartest and hardest-working Millennials, and overcome the stigma some men feel against these fields.
Hiring managers can take specific actions that will help overcome these challenges.
Why Are Millennials So Different?
The first step is to effectively recruit Millennials is to understand what makes them different from older generations. Unlike older generations, Millennials were raised to feel special by their parents who catered to many of their needs. They felt protected and valued, and were encouraged to believe they can achieve anything with the right mindset and support system. Collaboration and teamwork was drilled into them as youth, and this carries with them as adults. Finally, they have a strong kinship with technology—they are comfortable with it and see it as a solution-provider.
What to Emphasize When Recruiting
In recruiting messages, highlight the growth and long-term career potential in your industry. It’s not a difficult story to tell — the numbers speak for themselves in many pink-collar industries like healthcare, education, and social assistance. However, make sure you translate those raw numbers into how a job in the industry can develop into a career with opportunities for advancement, long-term professional satisfaction and work-life balance — the things beyond job security that Millennials are seeking.
Hiring managers should also emphasize how their participation in these pink-collar industries will make a positive difference on society and in their own communities. Millennials desire to be part of something bigger than themselves, so tying their work to a larger mission goes a long way in attracting Millennials.
Finally, Millennials get impatient easily, especially when dealing with outdated technology during the application process. Make sure your application process is clear, simple, and speedy. If its not, the best and brightest will see that as a sign that your company does not appreciate the value of technology that can streamline their work environment once they are there.
The demand for pink collar jobs is growing and is likely to keep growing over the next decade. At the same time, demographic trends suggest that the supply of able-bodied workers is decreasing. Combine this with a stigma of pink collar work, and you have a challenging equation for employers. Employers that will come out on top are those that value Millennials and adjust their hiring and career advancement practices accordingly to attract the best and brightest of this generation.