What Are the Most In-Demand Trades?

Are you wondering what skilled trades are in demand? Given the labor shortage, the trades, in general, need more workers. However, in this blog, we define what skilled trade jobs are and then discuss what skilled trades are in high demand based on the job outlook over the next decade.

What Are Skilled Trade Jobs?

In a world where college degrees and white-collar jobs often take the spotlight, blue-collar careers offer a different path to success. 

The skilled trades encompass a wide range of industries and professions, including construction, manufacturing, transportation, automotive, electrical work, plumbing, welding, and many more. These jobs typically involve working with tools, machinery, equipment, or specific materials to perform tasks that require technical knowledge and expertise.

One of the defining characteristics of skilled trade jobs is the emphasis on practical training and apprenticeships instead of formal education. This is one of many benefits of working in the trades because when a tradesman lands a gig, their first paycheck goes into their pocket, not to the bank they owe.

Benefits of Working in the Trades

Skilled tradesmen jobs offer several advantages for those considering a career in these fields.

  • In-demand jobs. Due to the skilled labor shortage, there are plenty of in-demand skilled trade jobs available, many of which require no prior experience.
  • Stable employment. Skilled trades tend to be more resilient during economic downturns, offering job security and a lower risk of unemployment.
  • No student loan debt. Pursuing skilled careers avoids the burden of student loan debt, allowing you to start your career with financial freedom and stability.
  • Higher earning potential. Skilled jobs offer competitive compensation packages and offer overtime and bonuses, which can increase your earning potential even further.
  • Driving technological advancements. As industries evolve and new technologies emerge as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, skilled tradesmen are at the forefront of implementing these innovations.

Now that you have a better understanding of what the trades are and the benefits of pursuing a skilled career, what skilled trades are in high demand?

What Skilled Trades Are In High Demand?

In this section, we list the top 5 trades in demand in the U.S. This list is based on which skilled tradesmen jobs have the greatest positive employment change from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

1. Light Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Projected Employment Change: 174,200 (2021-2031)

Light truck drivers, commonly referred to as pickup and delivery (P&D) drivers, play a crucial role in the delivery industry. They operate small trucks or vans weighing less than 26,001 pounds in total, transporting goods from distribution centers to designated delivery locations. 

Driver/sales workers, on the other hand, may use their own vehicle for delivering goods to customers and have additional sales responsibilities. Alongside making deliveries, they actively promote and recommend products to businesses while also seeking out potential new customers. These drivers often have assigned delivery routes and may take the initiative to expand their client base by approaching businesses located along their route. 

2. Heavy and Tractor-tailor Truck Drivers

Projected Employment Change: 90,900 (2021-2031)

The trucking industry is the backbone of logistics, transporting goods across the United States. As online shopping continues to thrive and the need for efficient supply chain management increases, the demand for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is increasing. 

Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a total weight exceeding 26,000 pounds for the vehicle, passengers, and cargo. Some drivers have one or two routes that they drive regularly, while others take different routes throughout the country.

3. Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Projected Employment Change: 69,700 (2021-2031)

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights play a vital role in keeping industrial equipment running smoothly. As manufacturing and industrial sectors continue to advance and automate, skilled workers who can maintain and repair machinery are in high demand.

With the increasing complexity of machinery, there’s a growing need for experts who can diagnose and fix issues quickly to minimize downtime. Pursuing a career in this field can lead to stable employment opportunities and the chance to work with cutting-edge technology.

4. Construction Laborers and Helpers

Projected Employment Change: 69,500 (2021-2031)

According to McKinsey, construction is the largest industry in the global economy. 

From infrastructure projects to residential and commercial developments, there’s a continuous need for skilled tradesmen who can assist in various construction tasks. Construction laborers and helpers typically involve physical labor, such as operating equipment and working with their hands. 

However, technology is not only advancing the manufacturing industry, but construction, too. By embracing the use of drones, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, AR/VR, and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, construction sites are becoming more efficient and safe.

5. Electricians

Projected Employment Change: 50,200 (2021-2031)

As the population grows and more buildings are developed, each one needs electrical power, communications, lighting, etc., increasing the demand for electricians. This ever-growing need for electricity in various settings fuels the demand for electricians who specialize in the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical wiring and systems.

In addition to the fundamental electrical services, there’s a significant shift towards sustainable practices and the adoption of renewable energy sources. Moreover, as technology continues to advance, there’s a growing emphasis on smart technologies and automation in buildings. 

By staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and industry trends, electricians can position themselves as valuable assets in meeting the demands of the modern world. 

Find Trade Careers In Demand Today

The trades will always be in-demand, but today they’re in even greater demand given the shortage of skilled workers.

With rewarding opportunities that span a range of industries, skill sets, and interests, the trades are bound to have a job that’s the right fit for you. If you’re looking at skilled careers in the trades, contact Skillwork. As America’s skilled trades travel staffing agency, we connect tradesmen with trades that need workers across the country.

Though we may not have jobs available for all the most in-demand trades mentioned in this blog, we have many openings in fields such as construction and manufacturing. Apply now to get in touch with a Skillwork recruiter about your eligibility for open positions.

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