A critical shortage of skilled trades workers in the United States is creating an acute pain point for the industry.

  • Repairs to the country’s infrastructure are behind schedule.
  • Companies that employ skilled tradespeople are failing to meet customer demands.
  • It’s challenging to maintain quality and productivity.
  • Companies are forced to turn down projects.

Why do we have a shortage?

  1. Baby Boomers are retiring from the workforce in significant numbers.
  • According to the Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN), “there are nearly half a million more jobs available in the skilled trades than workers with the skills to fill those roles, and that number is expected to rise to two million within a decade.”
  • For every five Boomers leaving the industry, only one person is available to fill one of those five vacancies.
  1. The introduction of new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), and robotics, is widening the number of unfilled positions that require advanced specialized skills.
  2. Vocational classes – where students learned hands-on skills – have been eliminated in many schools.
  • Emphasis on “college as the only option” was promoted.
  • Funding cuts forced schools to eliminated shop classes
  • No Child Left Behind forced absorbed much of school budgets

What can we do?

New recruitment strategies will help fill the gap. Some suggestions to consider are:

  1. Take specific steps to attract women into the trade skills. Women make up more than half of the workforce but represent only seven percent of the skilled trades workforce.
  • Launch recruitment efforts to draw women to enter the field.
  • Inform them of government grants available for women wishing to enter skilled trades apprenticeship programs.
  1. Find new ways to attract Millennials, and Generation Z candidates. When recruiting, instead of focusing on competitive salaries, hit on the key points of attraction for each generation.
  • Evaluate your company’s work culture – take steps to create a positive atmosphere.
  • Provide opportunities for continued on-the-job training opportunities.
  • Promote your openings as an opportunity to make a difference in their community.
  1. Recruit in schools. Debunk the theory that a college education is the only way to high paying positions. Eighty percent of companies in the trades agree that shop classes should be brought back into high school curriculums, but if nothing changes, nothing changes.
  • Join forces with other companies and create a strategy to cultivate high school students.
  • Invest in bringing back shop training in high schools to attract younger people.
  • Educate students about available scholarships and grants through the government and other agencies.
  • Sponsor scholarships to help promote trade schools.
  • Lobby governmental education agencies and other resources

Like any challenge in business, acknowledging the shortage of workers is only the first step. Taking affirmative action to overcome the issue is what will make a difference.

Gillmann Services, Inc. understands your need for skilled workers. We strive to create a supportive, transparent, and safety-conscious working environment where every employee, individually and collectively, provides our clients with exceptional workmanship, extraordinary service, and professional integrity. At GSI, we work for you! Give us a call today.