The demographics of field service workers are changing. As the workforce gets older and starts to retire, some companies are anticipating the looming threat of being understaffed. Still, field service is a rapidly growing industry that offers many diverse opportunities. The kind of opportunities that would attract young field service personnel, should they learn about them. Instead of focusing on the problem that the aging workforce creates, consider the solutions.
Problem #1: Field service companies are trying to attract young field service personnel, but are having a difficult time.
Solution: Appeal to Young People’s Tech Side
Millennials are the most mobile-friendly generation ever. They love the latest technology and easily adapt tech gadgets into their lifestyles. It’s easy for them to understand and use different types of new technologies: smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wearables. So why not show them that working in field service can mean getting to use the latest and coolest technology on a daily basis as part of their job? And if you’re a company that practices BYOD, promote the fact that they can work on their own devices.
Problem #2: A large percentage of current field service workers may take years of knowledge with them when they retire.
Solution: Share Knowledge With Young Field Service Personnel
Millennials want to feel creative and collaborate on the job, so as an employer, support that. In the workplace, many young workers enjoy being coached and mentored. If you recruit young field service personnel now, you can create an environment where a knowledge transfer can take place, and the skills and expertise you’ve already invested in with your older workers, can be transferred to your newer workers. Companies such as Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Elekta use video platforms, virtual reality, and automated knowledge management solutions to enable more experienced workers to digitally share knowledge with less experienced field service staff.
Problem #3: The field service industry is seen by young people as an old-fashioned career with no room for professional advancement.
Solution: Reinvent Your Image and Become an Innovation Leader
Field service companies should reposition themselves to potential hires as forward-thinking, innovative leaders. Show young workers that they don’t have to move to Silicon Valley and work in tech to be able to use high-tech equipment and tools. And as the Maker Movement gains traction with young people around the world, the constantly evolving and booming nature of the field service industry is as tech-friendly as they come.
Problem #4: Current graduates aren’t aware that field service offers them a high entry-level salary and the chance to work in exciting fields.
Solution: Highlight Salary and Opportunities
Many new graduates are facing a highly competitive market for finding a job. And the jobs that they do find are often either underpaying or not related to the fields they studied. Young people want to use the skills they’ve learned in school, while also acquiring new skills in a flexible, tech-friendly environment. If they knew that within field service, they could put almost any degree to use, whether in Electrical Engineering or Medicine or Mechanics, they’d probably be very interested. And since many field service companies are understaffed, there are many job openings, making it easier to break in compared to other industries.
Problem #5: Field Service is Seen as a Vocational Job
Solution: Recruit Soft Skills Too
Although some companies do recruit from vocational schools and military transition programs, many companies are beginning to recruit personnel who have transferrable skills. Even if a job candidate doesn’t have strong technical background or a vocational certificate, if they have experience in something like customer service, these “soft skills” are very useful in the changing industry of field service. Customer service has become even more important for field service companies, and now field service managers have to be able to interact better than ever with customers in the field. Even if they only have soft skills, young hires can learn and develop technical skills on the job.