How to Combat the U.S. Trade Labor Shortage

Female trades workerCompanies are struggling to find skilled trade workers to fill high demand, vacant trade positions. As the year end is near, construction, industrial and manufacturing jobs continue to thrive. With this comes the need to fill these jobs with skilled trade workers. LEAD Dallas, Ft. Worth General Manager Scott Boddy says the U.S. labor shortage is a chronic issue and continues to worsen. Skilled trade job growth, retiring baby boomers and the coronavirus pandemic are the three top reasons the need for skilled trade workers is on the rise.

The global pandemic has significantly changed the landscape in how Americans live and work. It impacted the economy, decreased mortgage rates, increased household wealth, and created a shift in job mindset. More and more people are resigning from their jobs, in search for work that fulfills their passions and has greater meaning. The pandemic has notably changed the definition of home, resulting in increased home improvements, the need for more building materials, and more jobs in the skilled trades. Additionally, lending to job growth in the trades is the adoption of new technologies.

Scott, who has 25 years of industrial and staffing experience, also points out that 27% of skilled trade workers will reach the retirement age of 62 within 10 years. “We have started to see the beginning of baby boomers exiting the trades. These next ten years and how we manage job placement in the trades is crucial to the trade industries. Now is the time to highlight the vast opportunities available to skilled trade workers,” says Scott. “We need to encourage the younger generation to follow the skilled-trade career path.”

Close the Gender Gap

Women make up half of the workforce, however U.S. skilled trades are predominantly male. Men make up 91% of the construction workforce and 97% of the skilled trades. Building awareness of the opportunities in skilled trades and targeting females would have a significant impact on closing the skilled labor gender gap and adding to the trade workforce. Americans have come a long way from previous decades in their view on the trade worker; however, the stereotype that trade jobs are for men remains prevalent in high school education where students begin to choose a career path to follow.

Promote Career Pathways

Trade education and a positive image of the trades as a viable and wage-worthy career has gained traction in U.S. high schools and state colleges. Fast tracking a student to a well-paying, in-demand career with growth potential is a national top priority in the nation. Two-year colleges, like Tarrant County College (TCC) in Ft. Worth, are on board with this national effort. TCC offers 42 certificates and degrees in areas of automation, construction management, electrical line technician, HVAC, industrial, manufacturing technology, and more.

Another opportunity for students to enter the trades is through paid apprenticeships, now available in many state colleges. Apprenticeships combine classroom hours with on-the-job training, providing a quick entry into the skilled trade industry.

Scott, a welder by trade, understands the skilled labor industry from both the laborer and the employer side. His experience working in the industry and with people, staffing the trades and building trusting relationships is a benefit to companies who partner with LEAD Dallas, Ft. Worth. Although the nation is making strides in closing the skilled trades gap, companies continue to struggle to fill open positions. Scott says, “We are seeing a significant increase in available skilled jobs. This is where LEAD Dallas, Ft. Worth comes in; LEAD helps companies combat the shortage with fast recruiting and job placement with highly qualified skilled trade workers.”

Contact LEAD Dallas, Ft. Worth if you need assistance in filling carpenter, electrician, millwright, welder positions, and more. Scott Boddy and the LEAD staff are committed to help their partner companies succeed!