A-Absolute Plumbing, Heating & Air Highlight an Overlooked and In-Demand Skillset Adrian Rubin February 7, 2019 Strategy 224 2 minute readIn today’s highly technical workforce, much attention has been paid to STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math-based learning. While jobs requiring a college education are important, many young people can find rewarding and well-paid careers in the trades. Skilled plumbers, heating specialists, mechanics, construction workers, and electricians are always in high demand. A-Absolute Plumbing, Heating & Air examines the current market for tradespeople and explains why young people should consider going into the trades. Labor Force Projections The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has compiled projections for jobs in the trades. All of the categories studied are projected to grow by 2024. Construction laborers are predicted to have a 12.7 percent higher employment level in 2024. The number of pipelayers is projected to grow by 11.4 percent. Solar photovoltaic installers are the most rapidly growing occupation studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics across all industries, not just the trades. This field is projected to grow by a staggering 101 percent before 2026. Trades and Career Education In order to take advantage of these exciting trends, young people and those who are looking for a career change should avail themselves of trades education. Many high schools have technical and career education programs available, and there are also post-secondary opportunities for prospective tradespeople to train to enter the workforce. Many trades work on an apprenticeship system, where recently trained employees work closely with their supervisor to learn all that he or she can teach them about the business. Today’s educational system puts great value on going to a traditional college. The value of trades education is often overlooked. For the future of trades education students, the stigma associated with not going to college needs to be broken. Labor Shortages and an Aging Workforce One serious challenge faced by the trades is an aging workforce. In New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, a full 60 percent of the labor force in the trades is over 45. The aging of tradespeople points to a time when there will be severe shortages if training programs do not continue to produce highly qualified employees. As the workforce ages, valuable information is lost. There are many more jobs in the trades than there are employees to fill them. A survey published by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 70 percent of construction companies throughout the United States are having difficulty filling jobs in their companies. 69 percent of construction companies planned to hire additional employees for expansion, but these plans are jeopardized by the lack of entry-level personnel who are ready and willing to work. Final Thoughts While the statistics regarding the growth of the skilled labor force are impressive, there is a serious lack of qualified employees to fill many of these positions. These jobs are well-paying and provide excellent benefits. As tradespeople gain experience, their salaries increase at a faster rate than their college-educated peers. Young people and others who need to change careers should carefully consider going into a skilled trades position. A-Absolute Plumbing, Heating & Air encourages employees to look into skilled trades positions. Companies like theirs are always looking for qualified hires. The advantages to the individual and the companies are many. The trades provide steady work in a rewarding environment, where hands-on work can be more satisfying than sitting behind a desk. When young people choose the trades as a career, they can be encouraged by the fact that they are helping America grow with their labor. Trades employees provide an important part of the American economic engine and will keep the country running in the decades to come.