Millennials grew up being told they needed to do well in school so they can go to college and get a degree. While a college degree is one option, it has left many companies struggling to hire enough people. Here are the skilled trade jobs in demand in 2020 and beyond.
Construction Employment Is Booming
Construction companies are always looking for new skilled employees. In 2019, the industry has added an average of 13,000 jobs every month. In September alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the sector added an astonishing 338,000 job openings. BLS also saw a 5% growth in employment in the construction industry between 2017 and 2018.
So why are 54% of contractors having difficulty finding skilled workers to take up the mantle and shoulder the burden?
Consequences of the Construction Labor Gap
What are some of the consequences of companies dealing with the skilled labor shortage? The numbers tend to vary, but 81% are reporting that skilled workers have to take on more work, leading to more burnout and employee turnover. More than 70% are finding it difficult to meet schedule requirements, and 63% are putting in higher bids to secure projects. About 40% of companies have reported that they've had to turn down opportunities for work because they don't have enough workers to complete the jobs they have taken.
There is an enormous mismatch between industry growth and qualified labor, creating a high demand for skilled workers in the construction sector.
The Benefits of Construction or a Skilled Trade Career
Contractors surveyed listed their top three reasons to get into the construction industry. Above all, 70% preferred the earning potential within the sector, while 43% cited the potential for career advancement. An additional 37% talked about the ability for even new employees to gain new skills on the job. It's often easier for skilled trade workers to advance and learn new things because they can do so without the need for additional college classes or leaving work to obtain them.
Highest-Paying Trade School Jobs
What are the highest-paying trade skill positions as of the end of 2018?
For skilled workers, they include an elevator installer or repair worker, making a median wage of $79,790 in 2018, with a projected growth of 10% between 2018 and 2028. Electricians and plumbers enjoy median salaries above $58,000 a year, with projected growth of 10% and 14%, respectively. Construction equipment operators, carpenters and HVAC technicians all earn wages of more than $50,000 a year, with projected growth that varies from 8-13%.
Construction managers usually earn a median salary of $93,370, while supervisors bring home an average of $70,540. Mechanical and repair supervisors receive a median salary of $69,320. All three of these trade careers are expected to experience a growth of 10% between 2018 and 2028.
The Fastest-Growing Jobs Are in Renewable Energy
While growth of 10-14% might sound fantastic, and it is near twice the projected growth of other industries, it's nothing compared to renewable energy. Solar installers might not make as much as some of the other trade skill workers on this list, with a median salary of $42,680. However, their industry is expected to grow by 63% between 2018 and 2028. Wind turbine service technicians enjoy a median salary of $54,370 and will see 57% growth in their industry in the next decade.
How Can Trade Businesses Recruit More Workers?
For companies that are 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 having to wait 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.