Close collaboration to the construction industry is damaging the equipment rental industry’s potential to to attract millennials and improve the gender imbalance, according to the European Rental Association (ERA).

Michel Petitjean, secretary general of the European Rental Association (ERA).

Michel Petitjean, secretary general of the European Rental Association (ERA)

In its latest report, named How to compete with other industries in securing talent for the future, the ERA found that the equipment rental industry appeared invisible to millennials, due to the lack of public awareness of the industry.

It said that, despite high employment rates – with rental companies recruiting up to a quarter of their total workforce each year – the rental sector was losing out on potential talent to other industries, due to people being unaware of the wide-ranging career opportunities within the sector.

A close association to the construction industry is said to cause negative connotations, with people unaware of the differences between the rental and construction sector. This is said to be a core reason why woman represent less than 17% of the entire equipment rental workforce.

The report found that, while attitudes were changing, industry sexism still needed to be stamped out to attract more woman to the industry. It added that the increase in millennials choosing to attend university was a reason for losing out on young talent.

Michel Petitjean, secretary general of the ERA, said, “This report shows the critical importance for the rental industry to self-promote effectively and to be in tune with the values of today’s savvy candidates.

“The rental equipment industry is a fantastic opportunity for millennials and many professional candidates who have simply overlooked its possibilities because they know very little about it. More collaboration is required to attract and retain the next generation of young and talented workers who often incorrectly see the rental industry as dirty and arduous work.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Walzer, chief researcher and editor of the report, added, “First and foremost, companies need to align their values to who they are trying to attract to the industry.

“A low representation of women and widespread negative misperception of construction are hurdles that can be overcome with a collaborative effort. In terms of recruitment, more of a focus needs to be put on hiring for attitude and training required skills inside the company.”

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