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Kid's Aren't Doing It For Themselves

16 December 2016

Following our slightly maudlin posting of a week or two back, where we related how homeowners love home improvements, yet get stressy when calling the builders in; there’s another ‘alt’ phenomenon that offers more positivity to the trade professional and – in extremis – has been suggested to be a (minor) contributing factor to skills shortages around the UK.

What is this phenomenon? Basically, it’s that ‘Millennials’ are apparently a bit rubbish around the house. For those not entirely familiar with the term, a Millennial – also known as a member of Generation Y, Generation Me or an ‘Echo Boomer’ (no, us neither) – is loosely defined as those reaching young adulthood from around the year 2000. And they’re increasingly useless at DIY and home improvements.

Before we’re accused of derogatory ageism, it’s not us saying this: it’s a finding of research conducted by MORE TH>N home insurance. And, to be fair, MORE is not the first organisation to have thought this.

The problem is, empirically, that there has been a 20% reduction in DIY and other skills within this generation. What isn’t established, unempirically, is whether this is a result of ‘can’t’ – perhaps there was no parental mentor to teach the basics – or ‘can’t be bothered’.

Either way, it’s surprising and troubling. Across the 19-35 age group, it’s asserted that: 19% can’t change a light bulb; 24% can’t paint a wall; 26% struggle with flat-pack furniture (surely a multi-generational problem?); 36% can’t hang a picture and a whopping and incredible 56% don’t know how to change a fuse!

Obviously, no-one expects this group – any group actually – to be able to fit double-glazing, erect a conservatory or replace roofline goods; yet it is indicative of an opportunity – and the payoff among all the statistics was that 43% of them prefer to pay for trades to do their chores for them, rather than tackle them themselves.

As mentioned above, this ‘can’t do/ won’t do’ element of society has been suggested as a contributor to the skills shortage as this Millennial need for know-how sucks handypersons out of the main building sector, and boosts the market of and for odd-job folk.

Plainly, the skills malaise and its causes are greater than this; yet it also means that the general or jobbing builder or painter and decorator can anticipate a much wider customer base in future.

As we said before, the trepidation with which householders approach trades is one thing, yet if they’re obliged to source professionals because of their own disinclination or inability, then so much the better.

And given the power of referrals and word of mouth in this environment, it would be reasonably hoped that – for those with the scale and competency to cope – a shelf well fixed, a pane re-glazed and a fence re-erected for such a Millennial should inevitably lead to the window replacement and conservatory installation projects of the future.

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