An unprecedented skilled labor shortage exists from a combination of the Great Recession’s record levels of unemployment, industry veterans leaving the workforce, and the fact that many high school graduates are not interested in blue-collar jobs.
A big part of the workforce problem is negative perceptions about skilled trades. Young adults often see vocational jobs as a grueling line of work offering no career advancement or financial and job security.
Skilled Trade Wages
The reality is many workers in the skilled trades earn average or above-average wages. Salaries vary depending on which field you enter. For example, the median annual wage for electricians is $52,720, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The highest 10 percent of electricians earn more than $90,420. The median annual wage for carpenters is $43,600, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $79,480.
Take Advantage of The Labor Shortage
The labor shortage has reached a crisis mode, according to Eric Thorkilsen, who is on a mission to increase the ranks in skilled trades. The chief executive of Stamford, Conn.-based This Old House Ventures, the leading U.S. brand in home improvement content, says it will be “increasingly difficult for homeowners to find skilled craftspeople to come either to do renovations or even just to make repairs without young people entering the trades and taking the place of those who are now reaching retirement age.” (Brenda Richardson, The Washington Post)
Construction labor is the fastest-growing job in America. Here are a few facts:
- In 2016 alone, construction jobs increased by $52B
- High budget construction projects; there is a huge demand for workers- one of the main challenges is staffing worksites
- Baby Boomers are retiring and there is lack of interest by young adults in the skilled trades
- Only 68% of high school graduates attend college
- 70% of contractors struggle to hire workers (Associated General Contractors of America” and there will be 68% more skilled trade jobs available than people to fill in next 5 years
- Employment in the construction sector is expected to increase substantially, adding 807,500 jobs. This increase will bring the construction sector above its 2006 level, which was the height of construction employment, just prior to the 2007–09 recession.