Skilled Labor Boom: Preparing for 2024 Growth

U.S. employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled workers, according to a survey published by NABE in 2016, suggesting upward pressure on wage growth down the road.

Recognition of the skilled trade boom projected within the next decade offers ample time for trade business repositioning. Hiring and training new employees, expanding market reach and ramping up brand recognition will all help a skilled labor business owner capitalize on predicted growth. If you’re in the skilled trade business, focus on funding for the future. Laying the groundwork now will remove some of the labor later.

Skilled Trade Industry

Skilled trade labors refers to workers who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, or formal vocational education, but not a bachelor's degree. The term skilled trades encompasses career paths that require manual work but are far above the level of simple labor.

Common examples of skilled and trade labor are:

  • Electrician
  • Pipe Fitter
  • Plumber
  • Mechanic
  • Machinist
  • Carpenters
  • HVAC Technician

To be able to legally and successfully practice a trade, you must have real training and certifications. In a skilled trade, you use your mind just as much as your hands. You have to comprehend essential processes and think your way through problems just as you would with any college type of occupation.

U.S. Predictions for Skilled Work

While it’s difficult to predict the future, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which pulls information from State & Local sources to determine long and short term employment data, provides information allowing hiring managers and job seekers the ability to make educated decisions.

Looking at their most recent projections for common and rapidly growing fields, here are some of the most interesting nationwide numbers.


Preparing to Meet the Demand

Skilled trades can provide a promising career path depending on a job seeker's skills and location. However, some of these middle-skill occupations will need an influx of new talent sooner than others.

Projections for 2024 show employment growth requiring 17 million new skilled workers along with 39.4 million replacements as aging workers remove themselves from the workforce. In total, 56.4 million openings need filled to meet the approaching demand.

Of the 21 skilled trades professions identified by the Virginia Manufacturers Association, the one employing the oldest workforce in the U.S. is electrical and electronics engineering technicians, with 38 percent of jobs held by workers 55 years and older. Meanwhile, a third of electrical and electronics repairers are at least 55, while 72 percent are 45 years and older. The gap is only getting bigger. Not only does this include the 31 million positions that will be left vacant by 2020 – but it also includes the skills gap that generations X and Y will need to overcome.

Capitalizing on Open Opportunities

The skilled worker shortage combined with the projected growth leaves few options to ensure the demand is met with sufficient supply. Buildings will always be built, renovations will always be made, equipment will never cease to fail and, undoubtedly, the U.S. with always need tradespeople. The opportunity opened by aging trade workers leaves great potential for younger tradespeople to step into positions to great advantage.

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