The skilled trades are some of the most essential and in-demand sectors across the United States. However, they are facing an unprecedented labor shortage, one that is threatening to have a significant negative impact on multiple facets of everyday life, such as infrastructure maintenance, construction projects, home repairs and more. According to recent figures, some positions are going unfilled for an average of up to 39 days, signaling towards the extreme need for more talent.
Historically, skilled trades have been a popular career choice. To date, there are over 300 skilled trades, and span far beyond the traditional trades like welders or plumbers. But when it comes to the younger generations, it has evidently been more difficult to attract new workers, presumably due to a number of myths associated with the trades.
At Select Staff, we are on a mission to get people excited about the skilled trades. Here are some of the most common myths about the trades sectors.
Myth #1: The skilled trades are for men only
Many women may get deterred from a career in the skilled trades because they have historically been occupied by men. While many of the skilled trades are indeed male-dominated, hiring practices are actively changing to be more inclusive of women. In keeping with the ongoing trend of diverse, inclusive and equitable hiring practices, employers are hiring women more and more frequently in the skilled trades.
In the United States, men still make up the majority of workers in the skilled trades, with only about 10% of total roles being filled by women. However, in order to combat the worsening labor shortage, and simply because women can be qualified, competent and passionate trades workers just as much as men can be, this ratio is likely to change soon.
Myth #2: The trades don’t pay well
Perhaps one of the biggest worries that some people have about entering the trades is that they are signing up for a low-paying job. However, contrary to popular belief, the average trades position pays far above minimum wage, sitting at nearly $25/hour. For more experienced workers, the average salary for various trades jobs typically ranges anywhere from $40,000-$80,000, with some exceeding even higher. The top 10% of plumbers can make $97,170 a year! Not too shabby for a sector often dismissed as being low-paying.
In addition to high wages, more skilled trades positions are coming equipped with attractive benefits like health insurance, paid vacation and more, meaning heightened financial security for their workers.
Myth #3: You can’t have a career in the trades
When people think about the skilled trades, they can sometimes think of them as just a temp jobs without any possibility for advancement – something to pass the time while searching for your ‘real’ job. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Most skilled trades offer the potential to move up into upper-level roles like managerial and teaching positions, and entry-level jobs do not have to remain entry-level jobs forever, as long as the work is put in. Furthermore, working in the trades at any level provides a number of transferable skills, such as delegation, decision making and management experience, that can be applied to any number of different fields. Working in the skilled trades is by no means a dead-end job, but can be a valuable stepping stone towards a long-term career.
Myth #4: The trades are a fall-back
Many people tend to think that the skilled trades are only for people who haven’t done well in school or who aren’t going to excel in a four-year college program. But don’t be fooled: working in the skilled trades requires specified education, practice and hands-on experience, and employers don’t hire ‘just anybody’.
While most trades don’t require a four-year Bachelor’s degree, the level of expertise needed to be a successful and safe skilled tradesperson is immense. Virtually every tradesperson is required to have some amount of apprenticeship hours completed before being allowed on the job site, and many require certifications in order to perform certain tasks. In addition, they benefit from strong interpersonal skills such as attention to detail, teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. These jobs are by no means a fall-back for people who don’t excel in traditional school settings – they are a different path altogether, and just as necessary.
Want to learn more about opportunities with Select Staff? We have over four decades of experience helping candidates find exciting jobs all across Texas. Contact us today.