More ‘lazy’ Gen Z tradies want to work for themselves

New research has found that more ‘Zoomer’ tradies control their own revenue as younger workers look to branch out on their own.

Jarrod
By Jarrod
4 Min Read

New research has found that a growing number of ‘Zoomer’ tradies control their own revenue as younger workers look to branch out on their own.

Commissioned by Kennards HireLysaght and Marketing Consultancy firm I.M.A B2B, the research sought to identify how tradies aged 26 and under are likely to interact with suppliers as they flock into business owner roles. 

Attracting responses from tradies from all walks of life, the survey found that a whopping thirty per cent of the Gen Z workers in the industry were registered as either sole traders or business owners in 2023.

This new figure is almost double the current rate for subbies, with only 17 per cent of the Aussie workforce being self-employed in 2021.

I.M.A B2B Partner Jake Crush said while Gen Z often gets a “bad rap”, young tradies take great pride in a job well done.

“There’s massive opportunity for all brands from finance and banking, retail and trade to support these young tradie bosses on their career journey,” he said.

Offering greater flexibility in hours and pay, the mass migration from employee to business owner looks to have also improved the lives of the Gen Z cohort. 

Research last year from the Australian Industry (Ai) Group found that apprentices and qualified tradies aged 25 and under took home higher weekly pay and reported “stronger outcomes” than their university-educated counterparts. 

The future is face-to-face

The latest survey also revealed that an overwhelming majority want to ditch the transition to a digital marketplace, with 81 per cent preferring face-to-face conversations with suppliers instead of over text. 

When asked whether they believed that no human interaction with suppliers is best, an overwhelming 88 per cent of respondents disagreed. 

Mr Crush said the market was guilty of “chasing the latest trend” instead of focusing on connecting with tradies on the worksite. 

“…to engage tradies brands need to focus on the fundamentals – quality product, conveniently accessed at the right price – because they will never change,” he said.

“Digital transformation is irrelevant for the trade audience if it doesn’t seriously move the dial on these attributes or provide the certainty and timeliness required to get the tools, equipment and supplies to the work site.”

Researchers say they were surprised by the findings bucking the trends of the typical Zoomer – specifically, the preferences for engaging purely through digital sites and their influence from friends and family when choosing tools and building materials.

Nearly one-third of Gen Z tradies also said they are more likely to consider suppliers who are conscious about their environmental impact, and 50 per cent are more likely to be influenced by social media when looking for new products, despite preferring face-to-face dealings.

For Lysaght Marketing Manager Blake Tasker, the findings were vital to understanding what the future holds for the industry. 

“The findings also highlight the pride and independence exhibited by young tradies, reinforcing the importance of recognising and supporting their contributions,” he said.

“Research like this influences our approach in supporting the growth and success of the next generation of trade business owners.”

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Jarrod
By Jarrod
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.

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