Finding skilled trades workers with the right experience and qualifications is an ongoing challenge for many businesses. Demand continues to rise for infrastructure and construction projects across the country, while our economy is still recovering from the disruptions of the past year. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: The construction sector is slated to gain about 296,300 new jobs by 2029. Overall growth in the economy and population will subsequently increase the demand for new buildings, roads, and other structures–creating new jobs. 

Many in the industry refer to this as a “skilled labor gap.” Simply put, it’s the perceived mismatch between the needs of employers for skilled talent and the skills possessed by the available workforce. 

Although there are many jobs available in the skilled trades, the greatest challenge is attracting younger workers to these careers. Workrise surveyed hundreds of people–those currently working in the skilled trades and the general population aged 18-30. Both groups were asked about how they made career choices and what was important to them. 

 

Younger Workers and the Skilled Trades

The results of our survey showed that almost 3 out of 4 members of the general population don’t see a career in the skilled trades as an attractive option. Of those surveyed, many admitted that they didn’t have much knowledge about the skilled trades industry, and had never considered it before. 

These are some of the most popular reasons why: 

  • Perception of danger: One concern was that the job was physically demanding and that there was a high risk of injury. Some feared they may not be “fit” enough to withstand the demands. 
  • Work preferences: Many said that they preferred to work in a professional office setting because it’s indoors, safer, and a more “controlled” environment.
Industrial offshore construction workers. Oil and gas industry.

Key Factors Impacting Career Decisions 

Our survey also found that there were various influences on people’s career choices. 

Overall, women were more likely to report that their family played a large role in impacting both their educational and career decisions. On the other hand, men reported that they turned to sources outside the family for guidance, such as friends, peers, recruiters, and others. Most individuals followed in the footsteps of a family member or relative. 

When asked about the impact of higher education, the majority of the general population admitted this was also a key factor in their decision-making. One major benefit of working in the skilled trades is the debt saved from avoiding student loans. But, surprisingly the cost of higher ed did not factor as much with that surveyed group as expected. For some, the decision to go into a job outside the skilled trades may be due to a need to repay student loans.

 

What Workers Want

Across those surveyed, job security and opportunity were the two most common themes when asked about a rewarding career. The majority responded that they desired competitive pay and benefits, training, and advancement opportunities.

If you make enough money to support yourself or your family and enjoy what you are doing, then you have both a successful and rewarding career. Skilled Trades Survey Respondant

So, how do you attract more workers to the skilled trades? 

This is where Workrise can help. With two decades of staffing experience–we know how to reach the incoming generation of workers and attract them to the trades. 

We heavily emphasize our focus on the worker first, by providing best-in-class pay, comprehensive benefits, and 401K. And by supplying the training needed, we help prepare our workers for future career advancement in their trade.

In our next blog, learn how you can attract talent to the skilled trades industry.

Ready to gain more hiring insights for the skilled trades? Download our full workplace report

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