Today’s students are more likely to have their eyes on four-year colleges and the jobs that come along with them than they are to think about vocational programs and careers in the skilled trades. This trend isn’t new, but it’s leading to a new problem: a shortage of workers.
According to data from the Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA), the cause of this shortage is easy to explain but it will take some effort to solve. Today’s skilled trades workforce is declining due to retiring craftspeople and post-Great Recession career switches. With the last wave of Baby Boomers set to retire in 2029, the labor shortage is prime to take another big hit. Meanwhile, the journey to become a seasoned professional is a multi-year process. If too few people join the industry, the retirees will outpace the new talent.
This creates an opportunity for craftspeople who want to find jobs that are in demand now and could lead to reliable, long-term careers (that pay well). If you haven’t given much thought to a career in the skilled trades, now is the right time. Although the process to be considered an industry expert might be lengthy, it comes years of on-the-job training. In other words, working in the skilled trades now allows you to gain experience while earning a paycheck.
We looked at data from the CLMA to identify jobs that have are at risk of being understaffed in the coming years. These are 3 skilled trades jobs that will only grow in demand
Perhaps it’s not surprising that carpentry has a bright future. A growing population means additional housing, workplaces, and health care facilities. Innovative technology is changing the types of buildings we live and work in, which means constant renovations and updating. That’s on top of the everyday needs we have for carpenters, such as additions to homes and repairs. The future for carpentry is bright.
Similar to the increased demand in carpenters, industrial and commercial electricians are integral into new and existing construction projects. Electricians also have the unique need to broaden their skill set as technology becomes part of our everyday lives. Think of the ever-changing gadgets we use at home: programmable lights, security systems, remote thermostats. As our lives become more tech savvy—and the line between IT expert and electrician blurs—we’ll be relying more and more on these experts.
Welders are essential to construction projects of all types, so their bright future alongside carpenters and electricians makes sense. What you might not realize is that welders can use their skills in a variety of scenarios: manufacturing cars, production warehouses, building bridges, and other construction sites. Their versatility puts them in high demand and also leaves room for each welder to choose their preferred career path.