Things are changing quickly in the trade industry. Remember back in the day, when a hard day's work was something they wrote songs about? Nowadays, it's something frowned upon by the younger generation. But why? And what consequences will this have for your trade business as the older generation starts to retire? Let's take a closer look at youth in the trades, and how you can help to change the cultural mindset about the trade industry.
Unfortunately, there's a major labor shortage headed our way — and that's because Boomers are on the way out. The most trusted and reliable sector in the trade industry is retiring in droves, creating an unprecedented labor shortage. And good for them, they deserve it — the younger Boomers are in their late 50s, after all.
This wouldn't be a problem if the younger generation were here to fill their shoes. But unfortunately, Millennials are turning up their noses at skilled trade jobs. The result is a desperate need for manual labor, something your business may already be experiencing.
Part of the reason Millennials and Gen Z are avoiding a career in the trades is the unfortunate reality that these types of jobs have been given a bad rap. The younger generations have been conditioned to think that these positions are for people who aren't smart enough for college. In other words, they're the type of job for losers who failed out of school and have no other options.
Obviously, we all know that's not true, but the stigma sticks. This reputation is so bad that one study noted that people aged 18 to 24 would rather work in a coffee shop than have a high-paying trade gig. And the same survey found that over half of participants were not interesting in attending a trade school at all.
That's not to say that going to college is a bad choice. But it's certainly not "the best" choice, especially when a trade school degree costs just $33,000 compared to $127,000 for a bachelor's degree. Not only that, but kids can start making a decent salary — between $14 and $18 an hour — right out of school. Meanwhile, a college kid would only be able to snag a part-time summer job for minimum wage.
The question remains — should we be thinking about and defining success differently? Does earning that shiny diploma really make a college graduate better than a skilled laborer?
It's important to have a job you love to do, otherwise, you're in for a life of suffering. For many people, working with their hands, having a different work environment every day, and helping people is an ideal combo. Yes, working as a contractor or plumber or electrician is hard. That said, if it makes you happy... then it's the job for you. It doesn't matter what society at large thinks, all that matters is whether you feel fulfilled in your everyday life.
There's so much value in providing necessary services to homeowners! After all, they'll still be relying on your handiwork five, 10, or even 20 years down the road. It's meaningful and honest work, and this is something we need to show to the younger generation so they can start to better understand it.
So, how can we fix this problem? Here are a few of our thoughts:
With Boomers saying their goodbyes, it's time for Millennials and Gen Z to step up to the plate. But as of now, they're not willing, leading to labor shortages throughout the country. This may be because trades have a bad stigma surrounding them — so much so that kids would rather choose insane debt over a guaranteed job opportunity. Even so, changing this mindset begins with showcasing the value of the trades. By showing youth that it is possible to love what you do and make a difference, all while making a great living... we might just be able to turn this ship around.
Of course, FieldPulse is here to help you do that. Our app lets you make running your business a breeze. Create jobs, manage schedules, and even send invoices, all with a few clicks — and no paperwork. Give it a try today with a free demo!