The skilled trades are one of the backbone sectors of the United States. Just like any field, it is important to attract younger generations to the industry, but skilled trades seem to be facing more challenges than most when it comes to securing new talent. A growing labor shortage means the skilled trades industry is desperate for new workers to enter the field, and it is more vital than ever to persuade generation Z and younger millennials into considering a trades career.
According to a recent study, a whopping 90% of parents would support their child’s decision to enter the skilled trades. However, younger generation’s hesitation could mean they need more information to inform their decision, indicating a generational divide on the matter.
The skilled trades is a sector ripe with opportunity, high wages, and steady employment – keep reading for our insights into attracting younger generations to its lucrative career paths.
Older generations retiring
The biggest factor contributing to the ongoing skilled trades shortage lies in older generations retiring at a rate that is not matched by new workers entering the field. In 2020, a jaw-dropping 31 million baby boomer tradespeople retired in the United States alone, with 10,000 more retiring virtually every single day, and many of those positions remaining unfilled.
Baby boomers have occupied most trades roles for decades, and finding younger replacements is proving to be a challenge for most employers. According to recent figures, 91% of skilled trades hiring managers were having considerable difficulty finding talent for their open positions, and 39% think that hiring will only become harder in the months to come. With some skilled trades sectors expected to grow by over 60% over the next few years, the demand is something that cannot be ignored.
Misconceptions about the skilled trades
A substantial reason why younger generations are not as interested in the skilled trades could be attributed to the many misconceptions about these careers. Some of the most common myths about the trades are that they are low-paying, unrewarding, and unstable, when in fact, the exact opposite of all of these ideas is true.
Skilled trades workers have the potential to earn average or higher-than-average wages and salaries, currently sitting at around $47,000 a year. As far as stability goes, there will almost certainly be ongoing opportunities for work with little downtime in between because of the labor shortage. There is always something new to learn in the trades and starting at an entry-level job just means there is plenty of room for upward mobility.
The benefits of working in the trades
There are several benefits associated with working in the skilled trades that can be presented to younger generations who might still think it isn’t the path for them. In addition to being high-paying and rewarding, there is typically far less schooling to enter a trade and the demand for skilled labor is only going up. This means you can enter the workforce and get consistent paychecks far sooner than with a career that requires a four-year degree. And, because it has been so difficult to lock down skilled trades talent, many employers are offering a collection of attractive formal benefits, including health insurance, paid time off and more.
Working in the skilled trades also doesn’t have to be a life-long endeavour. There are several transferable skills that are earned with a career in the trades that can be applied to other professions. Time-management, attention to detail, communication and teamwork are all used daily in the trades, and any opportunity to hone these skills should be welcomed when starting out in the workforce. Whether you choose a career as a carpenter, HVAC technician or welder, there is virtually no downside to giving it a shot.
Select Staff is a proud partner in matching deserving candidates with a great selection of skilled trades opportunities across Texas. Want to learn more about what we do? Contact us today!