Where Are America's Skilled Tradespeople?

Opportunities abound in fields requiring vocational training

construction site manager...

Four in 10 American employers report they are having difficulty filling open positions, according to the latest annual survey by the Milwaukee-based ManPower Group.

For the fifth consecutive year, the jobs that are hardest to fill fall into the category of skilled trades. This broad category covers professions in manufacturing, construction and services industries that require training and experience, and may also demand a two-year certificate or completion of a formal apprenticeship.

Job categories include plumbers, elevator mechanics, construction inspectors, bricklayers and refrigerator repair technicians.

The ManPower Group cites these as the rest of the top 10 toughest jobs to fill:
More than half of the employers surveyed said the talent shortage has a medium to high impact on their ability to meet the needs of their customers.

The talent shortage is a global problem. Worldwide, 36% said they had trouble filling positions. That's a seven-year high for the survey.

ManpowerGroup surveyed 37,000 employers in 42 countries and territories for the annual survey.

The most frequent shortcoming of available candidates was a lack of technical skills, followed by a lack of "soft skills," the personal qualities that enable an employee to work effectively in a group.

For those needing more evidence that a college education is not the sole pathway to a successful career, a Harvard University study concludes that 30 percent of the new jobs that are expected to be created by 2018 require an associate's degree or a post-secondary certificate, not a four-year academic degree.

Harvard is hardly likely to denigrate the importance of a college degree. But, it argues that the American educational system has been too narrowly focused on "an academic, classroom-based approach" to preparing its young people for the future.

It advocates apprenticeship programs and community colleges as viable alternate routes to successful careers.

US News & World Report's ranking of the best 100 jobs in 2014 includes a number of positions for skilled trades workers. Among the top-rated jobs are maintenance and repair worker, exterminator, glazier, plumber, steelworker and painter. The magazine's rankings are based on the jobs' work-life balance as well as pay, security and opportunity.

One factor cited in the shortage of qualified workers is the aging of the current workforce, those who came of age in an era that still prized skilled trades.

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Sorry for the double post guys.

June 05 2014 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The vocation schools are still there. However, most these days focus on broadcasting or early childhood education. Not traditional trades. As well they shouldnt. What happened to going to the union hall and signing up? You get better pay than most people your age. Benefits, retirement etc... No school required in most instances. However, these jobs (electricians, laborers, masons, iron workers) are all looked down on. Why?

June 05 2014 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what ever happend to vocational school where you learned a trade. does ever one want to sitbehind a desk all there lives?

June 03 2014 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Now this is funny! 30 years ago all of the highly educated Professors and Teachers told us to get rid of our Trade schools because even a ditch digger will need a degree. The Tradesmen knew that it was a bad idea but the Smarter people knew better. Look at them now, they are using the excuse that times are changing but I guess they don't realize that a ditch digger is a ditch digger,then and now. We the people need to start telling these people that we tried it your way and it failed. Look at all of the people that are strapped now because they work at a burger joint but have to pay their student loans back. The Education system needs one thing and it is not money. We have poured money into the system and it keeps getting worse so we know that is not the answer. We gave the teachers more money and that didn't work. We need teachers that want to teach not teachers that want to beat the drum and influence students into liberal ways. We need teachers who don't work for the Union but for the pride of seeing a child graduate after teaching them what they will need to survive in this world.

June 02 2014 at 2:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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