Attracting Millennials for Technician Positions – It’s Not About the Money

By November 10, 2015Recruiting

If you want to know what millennials want when it comes to a job as a diesel technician, just ask them. The answers might surprise you.

For the last few years, my organization, NationaLease, has been working closely with the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) to help find qualified applicants for our full service truck leasing members. We’re encouraging our members to hire UTI graduates and we’re also providing technical expertise by serving on the school’s Program Advisory Council.

Founded in 1965, Universal Technical Institute provides technical training for students seeking careers in the automotive, diesel, motorcycle, marine, and collision repair industries at eleven campuses across the nation. The school’s course calendar is set up to provide a steady flow of graduates to industry, with classes graduating every three weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune to participate in UTI’s Program Advisory Council at their Lisle, IL campus. About 15 employers spent the day observing classes and labs, and talking to instructors and students. At the end of the day, we reported our findings, both good and bad, to the UTI staff. At one point during the day, we had the chance to talk to a student panel, with no UTI staff present. We asked the students what they like about UTI, what could be improved, and what their day-to-day experiences at the school are like.

Right now, our industry is facing a growing shortage. We read every day about the driver shortage…and that’s true. But equally concerning is the shortage of qualified technicians. Our trucks and trailers are going through a technological sea change, and we desperately need people that know how to maintain and repair these new assets. I considered this student panel discussion the perfect opportunity to discover what would make these young students choose one employer over another. So I asked these predominantly millennials, “What is the one thing you are most looking for in a job opportunity when you graduate?”

The answers are surprising…and enlightening. Here are the main things they say there are looking for:

  • Be a part of something bigger than myself
  • A sense of camaraderie
  • A team environment
  • An employer who shows they care and are willing to train
  • A good supervisor
  • A chance for advancement
  • A place where coworkers are pushing you to be better
  • A place where I feel like part of the family

Notice what’s missing? There was no mention of money, not from one single student. This actually coincides with things we in HR are learning about millennials, regardless of what industry we’re discussing. Fortune magazine published an article earlier this year about this topic and found that the three major things this group seems to want are: flexibility in order to pursue a better work/life balance; employee mobility and a chance to advance; and a sense of purpose by being part of the solution when it comes to growing the company.

So for those of you looking to fill those technician jobs, you need to provide a place where a great employee can learn, grow, be part of a team, and become part of a family. When you’re looking at your hiring process from job posting to job offer, don’t forget to focus on these items. It’s a competitive marketplace. Make sure you tell prospective candidates that you’ve got just what they’re looking for…and then keep that promise.

How are you working to attract millennials to your business?

Jane Clark

About Jane Clark

Jane Clark is Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease. Before joining the full service truck leasing organization, she served in executive positions with some of the nation’s top staffing and recruitment agencies.

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