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Millennials Wanted: Attracting the Next Generation

Millennials Wanted: Attracting the Next Generation


Ask any LBM dealer what keeps him or her up at night and the topic of hiring and retaining quality employees likely ranks high on the list. As the staff at lumberyards around the country grows closer to retirement age, many dealers are looking to the next generation of professionals to step into roles held by baby boomers with decades of experience.

What many hiring managers have heard about this next generation—millennials as they’re called—has sometimes led them to believe that the younger generation isn’t the right fit for job postings at a lumberyard. For whatever reason, millennials have been stereotyped as job hoppers who prefer to communicate via text or social media, who will do the least amount of work possible then ask for a raise.

According to Tony Misura of The Misura Group, a leading LBM industry recruiter, these generalizations simply aren’t true. The “young and dumb” reputation that millennials have received deserves a second look.

Misura notes that millennials—the 80 million in the U.S. born between 1976 and 2001 (and aged 18 to 34 in 2015)—have been taught in high school that college is their goal. In colleges and vocational programs they’ve been steered toward tech careers.

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How do you get this generation interested in working for a lumberyard? According to Wendy Whiteash, senior vice president of culture at US LBM, you stop talking about lumberyards as if they’re not a desirable place to work.

“We need to stop saying that the LBM industry isn’t sexy,” Whiteash told the crowd during a panel discussion at NLBMDA’s ProDealer Summit in October. Her comment has followed her, Whiteash told LBM Journal, and she still stands by it 100%.

“If we, as leaders of this industry are saying it, we need to take those words out of our vocabulary. It hurts the industry to say that it’s not an attractive industry,” she said.