Hipsters in Construction: Time for Change
‘I can’t get my hard hat on with my topknot in’ said nobody…..ever. I can honestly say I have never seen a hipster on a construction site… and to me, that’s a real problem!
Clearly, our industry – which continues to fascinate me every day – appears to turn off the latest iteration of the thick-framed-glasses-wearing vanguard of trendsetting.
Ironically, their sockless and unshaven style may obscure that there is a clear desire in this particular subset of millennials for design excellence and superior quality, even in the simplest of things. These are attributes that construction could really use as our older and highly skilled tradespeople, designers and engineers leave the industry. If Rennie McIntosh or Frank Lloyd Wright were born in the late 80’s I suspect they may have been unicycling quinoa munchers now, too.
However, the unfortunate truth is that the creativity and attention to detail common in many hipsters are more likely to be focused on creating a great cold press coffee rather than laying a perfect floor, or designing innovative steelwork. It’s not that I want to flood construction with those who might otherwise be considering opening a cereal café, but we should be striving for a diverse cross-section of new entrants to make our day job richer, more vibrant, and importantly more accessible.
I’ve been deliberately tongue-in-cheek so far but with good reason, so please don’t be offended. The hipster stereotype is a great example of just how powerful stereotypes really are. When it comes to stereotypes, ‘the builder’ is one that is heavily ingrained in the public psyche. Until we change this we won’t attract more women, minorities, or even young men who don’t quite fit ‘the builder’ profile, like hipsters, to the industry.
Building sites are our shop window for showcasing how the construction industry is changing and modernising so we need to make them look appealing, from the outside, as a desirable place to work. Construction’s outward face should portray a place which uses great tech to innovate and create, rather than being noisy and muddy. Maybe then we can attract a wider selection of young people https://bimstrategyltd.com/blog/women-in-bim/to join us in an industry we know offers a wide selection of great careers as well as the opportunity to positively impact our built environment. They would bring new skills, new ideas, and as a result, maybe the coffee in site cabins will improve a bit too.
Follow https://www.goconstruct.org/working-in-construction/diversity-in-construction/ to read more on diversity in the Construction industry