The trades are definitely a solid bet for anyone looking for a secure and profitable career. According to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, trade positions are currently the hardest to fill in the United States and around the world. Specifically, the top ten positions with the largest shortages include carpenters, framers, bricklayers/masons, concrete workers, drywallers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, painters and excavators.

Young people aren't pursuing careers in the trades

According to Jennifer Weber, EVP of human resources for Lowe's, the home improvement retailer conducted a survey which found that only five percent of parents in the U.S. expect their high school-aged students to pursue a career in the skilled trades. She also points out that the number of people showing an interest in a skilled trade is dwindling as more high schools have pulled back on offering construction-based shop classes. At the same time, 3 million skilled trades positions are predicted to be open by 2028.

The trades have a lot to offer

Consider a variety of opportunities, getting to work with your hands, high demand, good salaries, benefits and job security. That's according to Robin Fleming, cofounder and CEO of Anvl, a workforce first safety solutions software company, who says that because of the growing skilled labor shortage companies needing workers are motivated to recruit, train and retain workers and are offering competitive perks, benefits and salaries to fill positions. And because hands-on training often happens on the job, young people can quickly figure out if a path is a good fit and adjust if it's not. That's compared with investing four years into college to get a desk job which they may or may not like.

Jobs and training programs are easy to find

Weber says young people can learn on the job straight out of high school, or get some kind of formal training or certification before trying to get hired. For its employees Lowe's offers a "Track to the Trades" program which pays for tuition as they complete a pre-apprentice certification in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair. Once certified, Lowe's then helps them get jobs within its installation network.

In addition, Lowe's and more than 60 national partners launched a "Generation T" program earlier this year which aims to connect high schoolers and people wanting a career change with opportunities in the trades. At WeAreGenerationT.com anyone considering the trades can get information about what the work in a particular field involves, what the earning potential is and input a ZIP code to find nearby jobs and training programs.

Fleming adds that several U.S. legislatures are actively working to address the skilled trade labor shortage with a number of bills which were introduced in 2019.

Published on: Nov 14, 2019
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