Skilled Trades Shortage: Part 1

Posted on:July 9, 2014 8:12 am CDT

If you follow the Klein Tools Facebook page, you might have noticed a post we made last week showing some pretty interesting information about Skilled Trade Workers. The post was about the ManpowerGroup’s 2014 survey on the hardest jobs to fill in the U.S. For the fifth year in a row, Skilled Trade Workers was at the top of their list.

If you are a glass half-full kind of person, this may seem like good news. A surplus in jobs! But the reality is, this is more of a glass half-empty situation, and it looks like it could get even worse.

You see, the industry is actually facing a worker shortage….a serious worker shortage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting 20% job growth for electricians over the next 10 years….that roughly 224,000 more jobs that will need to be filled. According to the Manpower survey, Skilled Trade Jobs are already the hardest to fill in the U.S. because there is lack of technical competency and available candidates for those jobs.

American manufacturers have known about this for years and the problem that continues to get worse each day as more experienced tradesmen retire and few apprentices come up to fill the open jobs.

Forbes magazine, using statistics from EMSI, said 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years old or older and 18.6 percent were between the ages of 55 and 64. And that was back in 2012.

When you look at electricians, by far the largest of the skilled trades, more than 60 percent of workers were 45 years old or older, and more than 20% are 55 and older. What all this translates to is a large portion of skilled trade workers are at or very close to retirement age.

A shortage of skilled workers to fill existing jobs + a large portion of existing qualified workers nearing retirement + growing demand for electricians in the next 10 years = a real threat of a worker shortage in the trades.

It is an issue that President Obama acknowledged during a Q&A session on college loan debt (about 35 minutes in). While touting the benefits of a college degree, the President also stressed that college isn’t for everyone, and encouraged those people to pursue a career in the trades.

Share these statistics with someone who might be interested and tell us why you think a career in the Skilled Trades is the way to go.