Millennials grew up feeling like they had to do well in school so they could go to college and get a degree. While a college degree is one option, it has left many companies struggling to hire enough people. There are many other ways to earn a respectable career besides going to college. For instance, trade schools provide hands-on training for in-demand fields.
Trade school is an excellent option for graduates who want to enter the workforce sooner and prefer working with their hands. Here are the skilled trade jobs currently in demand.
Construction Employment Is Booming
Construction companies are always looking for new skilled employees. Since April 2020, the construction industry has added 931,000 jobs, including 110,000 in March of 2021 alone.
So why are 54% of contractors having difficulty finding skilled workers to take up the mantle and shoulder the burden?
As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, gaps in employment for top trade jobs have become challenging to fill. The lack of qualified trade workers has impacted construction companies and many other skilled labor industries.
Consequences of the Construction Labor Gap
There is an enormous mismatch between industry growth and qualified labor, creating a high demand for skilled workers in the construction sector. Here are some of the consequences of the skilled labor shortage that companies are dealing with:
- Approximately 40% of construction companies have reported project delays.
- Over 80% of respondents described having difficulty filling some or all of their positions.
- About 54% of companies increased their pay rates more than usual in 2019.
- Nearly 44% of firms report higher project costs from staffing challenges.
The Benefits of Construction or a Skilled Trade Career
You can still have a successful career that you enjoy without a college degree. Here are some of the benefits to working in construction or another trade:
1. Fast and Affordable Education
Most trade school programs last six months to two years, compared to a four-year college education. They're also a fraction of the cost. You might pay as little as $5,000 per year, compared to $10,000-$50,000 per year at a university.
2. Job Availability
Construction is one of many skilled trade jobs currently in high demand. There's also a need for more:
- Brick masons.
- Construction equipment operators.
- HVAC technicians.
3. Excellent Salary
Many positions in the construction industry and other trades pay a decent salary. New hires can expect to make more money as their training and experience increase.
4. Advancement Opportunities
It's common in the construction industry for skilled workers to advance based on their work experience. You can earn an entry-level position and work your way up to higher-paying roles based on what you learn.
Highest-Paying Trade School Jobs
Here are some of the highest paying trade skill positions as of 2022:
- Construction manager: The average salary for a construction manager is $97,160. They are responsible for coordinating and supervising construction projects from beginning to end.
- Construction and building inspector: Inspectors ensure construction projects meet all of the rules, regulations and project specifications. They typically make about $62,860 per year.
- Construction equipment operator: About 51,500 openings for construction equipment operators become available each year. The salary for this position is about $49,100.
- Industrial mechanics: The average salary in this industry is $54,920. Industrial mechanics install, maintain and repair factory equipment and industrial machines.
- Welders: The average welder makes $44,190 per year. About 49,200 welding positions become available every year.
- Carpenter: Carpenters work on many different projects, from installing kitchen cabinets to building bridges. On average, they make $49,520 per year.
- HVAC technician: Approximately 38,000 HVAC positions become available each year. HVAC technicians make an average salary of $50,590.
- Plumber: Nearly 51,000 plumbing jobs become available every year. The average salary is $56,330.
- Electrician: The average salary for an electrician is $56,900. An estimated 84,700 job openings will become available each year.
- Boilermakers: This role involves installing, maintaining and preparing boilers and other containers that hold liquids or gas. On average, boilermakers earn $65,360 per year.
The Fastest-Growing Trade Jobs Are in Renewable Energy
The average growth rate for all occupations is 8%. The renewable energy industry is growing five to six times faster, making it an attractive opportunity for many skilled trade workers.
With a median salary of $46,470, solar installers might not make as much as some other trade-skill workers. However, their industry is expected to grow 52% by 2030. Wind turbine service technicians enjoy a median salary of $56,230 and will see 68% growth over the next decade.
Enrolling in a technical program for this trade will give you access to the fastest-growing trade jobs. Rapid growth allows renewable energy technicians to advance to higher-paying positions as the industry expands.
How Can Trade Businesses Recruit More Workers?
If you're worried about bringing in new skilled trade workers, there are a few steps you can take to make your recruiting process more competitive.
Start by developing a reputation for fair pay and competitive benefits. Offering apprenticeship programs can help bring in new employees right out of high school without waiting for them to complete a trade school program. Offering a clear path for advancement, providing ongoing training and improving employee engagement can all help you recruit new employees and retain existing ones.