A 21st century woman who's looking for a lucrative and in-demand field in which to start a career—or a business—may want to consider the skilled trades. While women have not traditionally filled job roles like electrician, carpenter, welder, or HVAC technician, they may find it easier these days to break in and find success than in the past due to shortages of skilled labor and greater emphasis on workplace diversity. Plus, many women could find benefits to working in the trades compared to traditionally female-dominated fields.
Skilled Labor Shortage
Over recent decades, graduating high school seniors have been steered toward pursuing a college degree rather than vocational training. Popular opinions regarding education and professional success have influenced this push. As a result, there are fewer young people trained to take up skilled trade positions for those who are retiring. One piece of proof for this trend is that the number of unemployed construction workers fell by 1.1 million in the four years before 2014 according to Associated General Contractors of America. Another statistic indicative of a move toward a skilled labor shortage is the fact that 35 percent of 112 economists surveyed in 2015 by the National Association for Business Economics reported skilled labor shortages.
At the same time that the skilled trade labor shortage is developing, businesses are becoming more and more eager to build a diverse workforce. Diversity in the workplace is not just about ethnic or racial diversity, but also about gender diversity. This means that women nowadays may find that it is easier for them to land a job in the skilled trades since an increasing number of employers are eager to diversify their teams.
Advantages of Skilled Trades
Among the advantages that working in the skilled trades might be expected to bring to female workers are higher salaries, more affordable educational requirements, and higher job demand, as this graphic below highlights. Equally enticing are the entrepreneurial opportunities available in the skilled trades: the construction industry has the second highest rate of self-employment of all major industries. More women-owned businesses could prove beneficial and inspirational for all women!
Check out this beautiful infographic to learn more about all that the trades have to offer women: