Keys to Getting and Keeping Millennials as Field Technicians

3/22/2019 / Workforce Trends / Katia Loboda

As baby boomers retire in larger numbers every year, service companies are scrambling to avoid a serious talent shortage.

In a recent poll of 42,000 employers, 40% reported difficulty filling field technician roles. Perhaps your service organization is asking the same question so many others are: How can we attract and retain millennial employees as the next generation of service workers?”

We at Astea want to help you answer that question. So we interviewed nearly 50 millennial technicians and used leading industry research to give you a clearer picture of today’s talent gap, and what you can do to fill it.

Human Resource Challenges Facing Field Service Today

The biggest and most obvious challenge the field service industry must overcome is an aging workforce.

In the United States, people age 45 and over make up 53% of the skilled trade workforce. As a result, 70% of service organizations are concerned about a talent and knowledge vacuum developing over the next five to 10 years as tenured workers retire—especially because 50% of those organizations already lack adequate resources to meet current demand.

67% of millennials said field service is not their first career choice.

Compounding the growing talent crisis is the reality that few millennials are actively seeking work in skilled trade professions. Of the millennials interviewed for our study, 67% stated field service is not their first career choice.

With only 15% of service organizations having updated their recruitment and retention strategies to target millennials, the talent gap may only get worse.

Two Main Challenges and Opportunities of Managing Millennials In Field Service

The world millennial employees enter today differs radically from the one in which your company was founded, even if founded as recently as 15 years ago.

Changing market conditions mean millennials are setting different priorities than baby boomers did. To attract and keep millennial workers, companies must adjust their work processes and practices to reflect the next generation’s concerns and aspirations.

Only 15% of companies have redeveloped their strategies to recruit and retain millennials.

field techniciansResearch from PWC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce points to four key factors influencing millennials’ employment choices:

  1. Millennials believe few people will have stable, long-term employment in the future.
  2. Millennials want employers who will invest in them and provide a clear career development path.
  3. Millennials won’t tolerate ambiguity and slow processes.
  4. Millennials expect workplace technology to provide them instant access to information, speedy communication, and frequent feedback.

Of these factors, field service companies need to improve most in offering career advancement opportunities and implementing the latest workplace technology.

Clearly Define Your Advancement Opportunities

Millennials want a fair salary, benefits, and advancement opportunities.

As mentioned above, young people are acutely aware long-term job security is no longer a guarantee. To attract them, therefore, companies must offer learning opportunities and career growth. In fact, our research suggests 29% of millennials will work only for a company with clearly defined growth opportunities.

29% of millennials will work only for a company with clearly defined growth opportunities.

Millennial employees regard access to managers who provide guidelines and frequent feedback as a large part of career growth. To court the next generation of field technicians, service companies will need to provide a work environment built around mutual respect, shared passion for work, and plenty of chances for personal and professional development.

Adopt the Most Modern Workplace Technology

Millennials are digital natives. They demand instant access to information that helps them learn about and adapt to new environments.

Millennials seek out employers who keep up with modern technology. They especially hold in high regard:

  • Personal employee portals
  • On-demand training videos
  • Company-developed job wikis
  • Instant messaging
  • Field service mobile applications

Want to learn more about using tech to train your workers? See how field service companies are using augmented reality to onboard and train technicians.

Cultivate a Work Environment to Attract Future Field Service Talent

Download our infographic “The Technician Resource Gap: Attracting Millennial Talent” to find out how to attract and retain millennials as field technicians by understanding who they are and what they want from an employer.

You’ll see:

  • Why imbalanced supply of and demand for labor makes attracting millennials imperative.
  • Which technologies work best to deliver training and content to the millennial workforce.
  • What factors drive millennials’ decision-making.
  • How best to develop millennials as future field service leaders.

Download Infographic

For additional information, check out our webinar on effectively fixing your technician resource gap.


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