4 Myths and Facts About the Skilled Trades

There are a lot of myths and false narratives about working in the skilled trades. We’re here to help you debunk them.

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Debunking the Biggest Myths Surrounding the Skilled Trades

If you close your eyes and think about the skilled trades, what comes to mind? Is it that:

  1. It’s hard to find a job in skilled trades?
  2. The trades are only for men?
  3. There are no opportunities to advance?
  4. Tradespeople don’t make enough money?

If one of those thoughts popped in your head, you’re not alone. Those are some of the most common myths and misconceptions of the industry — and we’re here to help you debunk them.

Myth 1: It’s hard to find a job in skilled trades.

FACT: Skilled trades jobs are in high demand.

The fact of the matter is there is a huge shortage of skilled tradespeople. In fact, there’s an estimated 430,000 more construction workers are needed in 2021 compared to 2020 according to Associated Builders and Contractors. Adding to that, our friends at Generation T estimate that there will be more than three million total job openings in the skilled trades by 2028.

So, for those of you looking to get into the skilled trades, there’s no better time –– and there’s definitely no shortage of work. Check out some of the most in-demand, entry-level construction roles right now: https://skilled.peopleready.com/its-time-to-consider-careers-in-construction/.

Myth 2: The trades are only for men.

FACT: This is just an outdated stereotype.

Thanks to false narratives like this one, women currently only make up 10% of the construction workforce according to bls.gov. With the need for so many more workers, there’s no better time for women to enter the skilled trades — regardless of the pre-existing stereotypes that exist.

Luckily, organizations around the country are dedicated to and advocating for the success of women in the trades. Here are a couple of the largest:

  1. National Association of Women in Construction
  2. Professional Women in Construction

Myth 3: There are no opportunities to advance.

FACT: There are many opportunities to advance in the trades.

Just like any other career, tradespeople can advance in their roles as well. While most workers start as entry- or apprentice-level workers, many go on to:

  1. Earn journeyman status (four years of experience necessary)
  2. Earn master status (seven or eight years of experience necessary)
  3. Lead teams as foremen, project managers, supervisors or site superintendents
  4. Become their own boss as contractors

There is no one size fits all for career paths in the skilled trades. But one thing’s for sure, there’s definitely room to advance.

Myth 4: Tradespeople don’t make enough money.

FACT: This is a HUGE misconception.

The truth is tradespeople often make just as much or more than their counterparts. Take a look at the average full-time salaries of some of the most in-demand roles in the skilled trades across all skill and experience levels:

Linemen: $68,500
Pipefitter: $62,000
Electrician: $58,500
Plumber $54,000
Heavy Equipment Operator: $50,500
Sheet Metal Mechanic: $50,500
Carpenter: $49,000
Welder: $49,000

Again, it is important to note that these are just the average figures––there are some skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen who make six figure salaries over time.

PeopleReady Skilled Trades works throughout the nation to connect tradespeople –– from highly skilled journeyman to apprentice-level workers and even helpers –– with work across a variety of specialties. To learn more, visit skilled.peopleready.com.

*All salary data is based on 2021 salary profiles from Payscale.com.

PeopleReady Skilled Trades is a specialized division of PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI). Since 1987, we have connected tradespeople and work across a wide range of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, solar installations and more. Whether you need a single tradesperson or require a coordinated effort to dispatch skilled workers across multiple projects, we ensure you have the right people with the right tools, on-site and on time.