Despite hundreds of job openings and well paying salaries, millennials are moving away from trade jobs and switching to occupations that require a four year degree. Half of current trade workers are over 45 years old, according to research by Forbes. The new generations are lacking the interest in trades, making it difficult for employers to find new electricians, plumbers, heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians.
It’s clear that the young generation doesn’t want to perform strenuous, blue collar work. While a shortage of workers is pushing wages in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor’s degree is softening. High school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to receive a bachelor’s degree, that the high paying jobs of the technicians, which require shorter and less expensive training, are going unfilled. In a quest for prestige, rankings and to bolster real estate values, high schools also love to emphasize the number and rank of their graduates who go on to four year colleges and universities.
According to research, 80 percent of the construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding quality workers. Finding a job in the trades industry or even manufacturing means no education after high school. Most regulators and employers require qualifications, certifications or associate degrees; and those cost less and also take less time than earning a bachelor’s degree.
Construction along with healthcare and personal care will account for one third of all new jobs. There will also be a need for new plumbers and technicians in the future. Reports predict that there will be 68 percent more job openings in infrastructure related fields in the next five years, than there are people training to fill them. There are already more trade jobs like carpentry, plumbing, sheet metal work and pipe fitting than the workers to fill them. The economy is definitely pushing this issue forefront.
Good jobs in skilled trades are begging for students, who are being almost universally steered to four year universities. To overcome this issue career guidance, including choices that require less than four years in college, start as early as the seventh grade. Being more aware of other types of careers is exactly what young students need. When you look at the types of wages that apprenticeships and other career options pay, the fact that you don’t have to pay four years of tuition and you’re paid while you learn, these paths really need some other additional consideration.
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