Debunked: 5 Myths About Skilled Trades

April 29, 2019 Anthony Balderrama

In case you haven’t heard, workers in the skilled trades are hard to come by—and they’re in high demand. With all the talk of automation and historically low unemployment rates, you might have missed the ongoing search for skilled workers. Skilled trades workers aren’t entering the workforce quickly enough to keep up with demand. One of the reasons is because many workers have some misconceptions around the skilled trades industry.

Luckily for you, we’re here to give you the facts. Explore five common myths about working in skilled trades and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: “These jobs don’t pay well.”
Truth: Skilled trades positions offer a variety of wages, and like other industries, the more experience you have, the likelier you are to earn more. But that’s not the only factor to consider: the size and scope of the project you work on can affect your pay. For example, working for a company that has a contract with the government could pay more than a role that works on short-term or smaller projects. Still, the likelihood of earning a living wage is typically higher for those entering the skilled trades than many other careers. Another positive of the skilled trades is you don’t need to go into debt earning an expensive degree in order to begin working and earning in this industry.

Myth 2: “You can’t find work year round.”
Truth: People need plumbers, electricians, and carpenters through every season. Ask any homeowner when they last needed one of these experts; most of them will be able to give you recent examples, from varying times throughout the year. Between home renovations, household emergencies (like burst pipes), and large-scale projects, skilled trades are in demand 365 days a year.

Myth 3: “I don’t have enough experience.”
Truth: That might be true—right now. Certain skilled trades positions require certifications or hours of experience. Others allow for on-the-job training and learning. Several require formal apprenticeships, where you get hands-on experience that lets you work while gaining experience. Learn more about the requirements of a particular role before you decide not to apply; there are plenty of learning opportunities that can quickly earn you the experience required.

Myth 4: “It’s a dying industry.”
Truth: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), skilled trades professions are growing as quickly as the rest of the overall workforce, with plumbers and pipefitters growing at twice the rate. Although technology has become part of these jobs and helps make some of them safer or more efficient, it’s not replacing them entirely. These jobs need the expertise and critical thinking that only actual people can bring. If you have an electrical emergency, you want someone to show up ASAP ready to fix the problem. These jobs will continue to be vital and won’t stop growing. 

Myth 5: “It’s boring.”
Truth: Any job can be boring if it’s not the right fit for you, but skilled trades positions aren’t likely to be boring for anyone. For one thing, you’re not spending your day in a cubicle or in front a computer screen. You might find yourself in a factory, a person’s home, a high-rise, a government facility, or any number of other locations. Your day varies from project to project, so long-term repetition is unlikely. If you’re looking for a boring gig, you’re not going to find it in skilled trades.

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