Magnetic culture

Creating a positive team culture and helping people grow is the most important aspect of gaining valuable team members.

Sharing their business culture on social media means the pick of the labour market proactively comes to them.

Video credit:

Zadie Workwear

  • ENE (3,b)
  • ESE (4,a)
  • WNW (6,b)

Emerging business leaders are building human-centric businesses and taking it upon themselves to shift wider industry attitudes—putting people before work in terms of support, education, and general happiness.

  • E (-6,c)

An influx of new generations with different ways of thinking about their relationship to work means a departure from the classic top-down business structure.

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  • WNW (4,c)

Leaders collaborate with their teams to understand what they value, embrace flexible working hours and encourage teams to share positive experiences on social media—letting TikTok find their new recruits.

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What is influencing this theme?

The labour shortage

There is a serious labour shortage. Tradies believe that, even in five years' time, they will still struggle with labour shortages.

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

Role of work

Apprentice culture clash

Gen Z apprentices want to be treated with patience and respect—but this isn't always the case, with more people quitting construction apprenticeships than qualifying.

‘Research exposes huge shift in what workers want from employer’, News.com, June 2023

Learn more
Role of work

Breaking the cycle

The new generation of leaders remembers their apprenticeships as unwelcoming and disrespectful. They want to create a better, more fulfilling experience for the generation coming up behind them.

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

Sharing company culture on social media cuts down on the effort and expense of hiring—and finds quality talent.

Being known for running a business where people want to work is a source of pride. The best place to share a peek under the hood of a company’s culture and to attract young tradies is TikTok.


of surveyed tradies under 45 believe a strong team culture makes their company competitive.

This drops to 7% for over 45s.

Over 45 years old
Under 45 years old

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

“I wouldn’t say the people I worked with were bad bosses. They just weren’t good bosses.”

Ed Ross started out as a carpenter, but his experience as an apprentice wasn't great. Eventually, he moved out of the trades, to found TradeMutt - eye-catching workwear that supports tradie mental health.

Everything Ed and his business partner Dan do changes on-the-job culture. It’s a change from people keeping problems to themselves, to finding support and making new mates who can help lift the daily load.

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Young male tradie smiling in vibrant shirt
When apprenticeships go wrong
Plumbify's company culture makes Matt's business the top pick for current and future plumbers.

Matt set up his business, took leadership training courses, built a solid team and then got on social media. His brand balances business insight and tradie comedy, thanks to serious clips from his Plumbify podcast and skits his team make.

Top apprentices reach out to him for work via TikTok, of instead calling or emailing. He’s also getting recognised by school kids, who want to grow up to be plumbers because working for Plumbify looks fun.

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How culture wins over talent

“We’re in an arms race for labour. The next generations are communicating on TikTok and Instagram. If you aren't there, communicating the way they do, you will be left behind.”

Matt Zubrinich, plumbify
emerging leadership
Emerging leaders are offering leadership opportunities to teammates based on values and aptitude—not tenure.

The next generation of bosses believes that if someone has the right attitude, they can be trusted to work through challenges and step up, regardless of age.

  • E (-6,c)

They are more open to flexibility, too, so that trusted employees can achieve their other priorities—whether those are fitness, family, lifestyle or a side hustle.

Photo credit:

Zadie Workwear

“Building a culture starts with you, you must set yourself goals to achieve every day. If you can look at yourself in the mirror at the end of everyday and be happy with the progress, and most importantly, be happy with the person looking back at you, you will do anything your set your mind to. Plumbing is the easy part.”

Male plumber, 25-34 YO, Narangba, QLD

Future Tradie Survey Respondent

Younger generations expect more to happen in their career, quicker.

This can lead to friction, but many emerging leaders lean into team members' enthusiasm and challenge them to step up.

Matt, owner of Plumbify, appointed Luke, his first employee, to be his operations manager—hiring on attitude over years of experience.

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Male tradie in front of microphone, wearing Kathmandu vest
giving opportunities to new employees

How do you feel about enabling more diverse people to get into and stay in the trades?

  1. Confident (34)
  2. Curious (36)
  3. Don't Care (19)
  4. Unsure (11)

% of total respondents.
Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

Future leaders know their team culture needs to accommodate more diverse tradies, but need practical help doing that.

Survey respondents cited women, and immigrants who are likely to be culturally and linguistically diverse, as a key source of labour.


of surveyed tradies are curious about how to work with diverse teams, and need help supporting them.

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

The challenge of being a female boss

“I’ve had people message me and then find out I’m the boss, as a girl. Then they don’t apply to me.”

Monique has had to constantly prove herself and work harder than her peers to gain respect in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.

Monique has used the challenges she's faced as motivators. Her podcast, Let's Talk Tradies, highlights the stories of professionals who have succeeded against adversity, and addresses the mental health challenges many face.

Photo credit:

MJ Bricklaying


of surveyed tradies under 45
are confident managing and working with diverse teams

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

How are future tradies responding?
Culture Leader

Encouraging learning, empathy & respect

They help others learn from their mistakes, overindex on care for the mental and physical wellbeing of their team, and lead by example with respect.

business optimiser

Embedding flexible work schedules

Flexible work schedules for their team open up new opportunities for servicing clients, which is a win-win.

Service Steward

Marketing their positive culture

Nobody wants to support a company that's horrible to its people. Sharing positive, personality-filled stories on social media is good for their reputation.


What can you do?

Start Doing

Connect like-minded tradies to help with on-the-job culture

Helping tradies connect with others to chat about what great culture looks like, and how to work through challenges, gives them peer support.

Plan For

Connecting tradies with specialist partners and organisations

Pairing with organisations that support mental health, wellbeing and leadership skills, can help fill a gap and show your brand supports the trades holistically.

Remember: Specialist partners are often needed for specific challenges such as gender equity.

consider in future

Offer grants or rewards for stand-out company culture

Celebrating people-based improvements such as embedding flexible work, supporting team members to step up, or rewarding those who are giving back to the industry's culture promotes positive change.

Start Doing

Set the benchmark for good culture and provide tools to cultivate it

This could include cultural principles, standards and monitoring tools such as industry benchmarks and standardised surveys.

Plan For

Formal leadership training for business owners

Focussed training that explores people leadership and how culture is influenced within a small business setting helps businesses level up.

consider in future

Building culture standards and inclusivity into OH&S

Assessing ability to deliver on respect, inclusion and psychological safety so that these factors play a part in OH&S standards makes businesses pay attention to them.

Start Doing

Measure company culture and encourage everyone to contribute

Sharing wins and challenges, and getting feedback on your business's culture helps teammates learn, support each other and build culture together.

Plan For

Conduct regular one-on-one chats and performance reviews

Setting aside the time for pre-planned check in's using discussion guides helps everyone talk about goals, progress and areas for improvement.

consider in future

Learn how to correct team members who don't support cultural standards

Being comfortable with giving and accepting teammates' constructive feedback takes practice. Whether it's better language to use on the job, or practical ways to help individuals connect, be prepared so you can suggest new approaches.

Download the full report to explore all themes and mindsets for 2024.