Wanted: More skilled trades workers


A new report from local home services finder Angi is putting a spotlight on the opportunities and challenges in the skilled services trades.

A survey by Angi this spring of 1,200 trades professionals — from single owners, to employees at large corporations — shows that there’s a continued shortage of skilled workers in construction, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and other areas. Nearly 40% of tradespeople surveyed said they couldn’t find employees to fill open positions, and two-thirds (66%) said they could expand their businesses if they could attract more skilled workers.

The report notes that a lack of skilled workers, which include home-improvement professionals, affects homeowners who need repairs or have home projects. Because of the labor shortage, labor and home projects have become more expensive and there are longer waits to schedule services, the report says.

More investments, apprenticeships

The report highlights some of the challenges in recruiting for jobs in these fields, such as a retiring workforce, a lingering stigma around the professions and less student exposure to the trades in high school. Survey participants indicate more investment in high schools programs and creating more apprenticeships could open more opportunities for younger people. Angi has launched several initiatives to attract new talent to the trades, including student scholarships, a trades job recruitment platform and an outreach campaign that includes webinars, podcasts and social media.

The report also observes that women are another potential pool to develop as skilled tradespeople. About 60% of survey respondents said more women would join the trades if a clearer path was built for them.

There has been some improvement, though. More than 40% of respondents reported seeing more women enter the workforce as skilled tradespeople over the last five years. However, most of the trades workers are still men: 81% of survey participants were men, though there were more women participants this year (19%) than in previous years.

High job satisfaction

The report also says there is high job satisfaction among survey participants. Nearly 90% of tradespeople indicated they were satisfied with their choice of work, up from 83% since the pandemic. They cited finding meaning and value in their work, overall compensation and flexible work hours.

And, maybe it’s a sign of the times, but nearly two-thirds (65%) of trade professionals said they don’t feel that their job is threatened by AI technology — but 11% do have concerns.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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