Despite salary increases providing more incentives, the skilled worker shortage is only increasing. If you’re a business owner looking for skilled labor, you know how hard it is to find the talent you need.
Why are salaries for skilled workers rising without an increase in available skilled workers?
How do you find and hire talent in a market with such a shortage?
The gap between wages for skilled and unskilled workers is growing, yet there are still millions of high-demand trade jobs that remain unfilled.
In this article, we’ll shed some light on the skilled labor definition, why a raise in salaries isn’t leading to a decrease in high-demand trade jobs, and how to meet your demand for trade workers.
Skilled Labor Definition
It’s essential to first distinguish between skilled and unskilled labour and the differences in skilled labor itself.
Unskilled labor is any job that doesn’t require specialized training or schooling. These jobs include:
- Receptionists or personal assistants
- Parking lot attendants
- Fast food workers
On the other hand, skilled trades can require schooling, an apprenticeship, month or years of on-the-job training, special certifications or degrees, and more.
What Is/Are Skilled Labor Careers?
Very broadly, skilled labor includes doctors, surgeons, engineers, lawyers, or other professions with specific knowledge and skills in their area of expertise.
For our purposes, though, we’ll narrow the skilled labor definition down to those who perform specific trade skills in commercial construction and manufacturing.
Some high demand trade jobs in commercial construction and manufacturing are:
- HVAC technicians
- Mechanical insulators
- Construction equipment operators
The above is a very small, non-exhaustive list of the skilled trade jobs available in the commercial construction and manufacturing industries.
Skilled trade employers are in desperate need of laborers, and the salaries for these jobs are increasing.
Why Are Salaries for Skilled Workers Rising?
There seem to be two main reasons why wages for skilled laborers are increasing.
1. Supply and Demand
There’s a law in economics called the Law of Supply and Demand. It says that when supply is high and demand is low, prices are low. But when demand is high and supply is low, prices increase.
Supply and demand is one reason why trade salaries are increasing: high demand for skilled labor but low supply of laborers has led to an increase in wages.
In particular, the manufacturing and commercial construction industries, which have been hit hard by the skilled labor shortage, have seen a 4.4% wage increase over the past few years.
2. Skilled Worker Incentive
Secondly, employers in need of skilled workers are increasing wages to:
- Keep current employees around longer
- Attract new employees to the company
By increasing salaries, skilled labor employers are hoping to make trade jobs more appealing. Unfortunately, it hasn’t solved the shortage.
The demand for trade workers on construction teams or in manufacturing facilities is still high. There are currently three million vacant trade jobs in the US, with 500,000 of those in manufacturing.
Why is the Demand for Trade Workers Not Decreasing?
The owner of a plumbing agency in Seattle recently stated that he employs multiple men and women who make six-figure salaries. In the same article, an electrical contractor said his company pays electricians $90/hr.
The bottom-line: skilled trades pay well.
Why are so few skilled workers available even when salaries are so high?
Here are three possible reasons why the demand for skilled workers continues to increase.
1. Stigma Surrounding Trade Jobs
It’s no secret that skilled trade jobs have a negative stigma and stereotype surrounding them. When people hear “electrician,” “plumber,” or any number of other trades, they may think:
- Low pay
These three things might be the stereotype, but they’re far from the truth. Skilled workers:
- Require intellect and thorough knowledge of their trade
- Can be any race, gender, culture, background.
- Receive comparable (and sometimes higher) pay to other industries
Our society has also elevated working in an office or at a desk over working with your hands. The rise in technology- and computer-based jobs has helped exacerbate a negative view of skilled trade workers.
Dismantling the stigmas around trade labor could encourage a larger demographic of men and women to pursue trade careers.
2. Lack of Comprehensive Training
Lack of investment in training has also contributed to the skilled worker shortage.
Many skilled labor employers started to cut down on apprenticeships and in-house training to increase revenues and decrease costs. These same industries that cut back on skilled training decades ago now require skilled workers today.
Many manufacturing facilities also invest in more complex machinery and equipment. Yet, they don’t invest the same time and money training employees to maintain and fix these machines.
Investing in long-term, comprehensive training programs could provide laborers with the advanced skills and troubleshooting abilities these industries need.
3. Unwillingness to Change Recruiting Practices
For decades, commercial construction and manufacturing have relied on the same staffing practices. However, times are changing, and the old recruiting practices aren’t cutting it.
An unwillingness to adopt new recruiting practices is one of the most significant contributing factors to employers’ lack of skilled labor. Yes, there is an overall shortage of long-term skilled laborers. But short-term trade staffing is an excellent solution to help fill needs quickly and ramp up production.
Enter Skillwork’s solution for skilled labor staffing. We provide traveling, short-term skilled laborers when and where employers need them.
With Skillwork, trade laborers can be brought in from around the country for short-term contracts. These temporary tradesmen can increase your staff for high-demand projects, fill holes until a longer-term hire is available, or even take on a full-time position.
A traveling, short-term skilled worker may be unconventional, but it also may be the staffing solution you’re looking for.
Fill Your High Demand Trade Jobs Today
The skilled labor shortage is affecting many industries, especially commercial construction and manufacturing. Even with salary increases, the demand for trade workers is growing.
Skilled labor stereotypes may be contributing to the lack of new skilled workers, and the absence of adequate training from employers is also a factor. However, hesitancy to change hiring practices is why employers can’t find the skilled workers they need when they need them.
Skillwork provides travel staffing for the skilled trades. Our focus is on providing commercial construction and manufacturing companies with experienced, quality skilled workers. With our trade labor recruiting service, you’ll benefit from:
- Flexible staffing: fill staffing needs for a short time or as long as you need
- Trial period: work with your new hire before bringing them on full-time
- Burnout prevention: decrease overtime and reduce staff burnout
Contact us today to start meeting your staffing needs. Our consultation is obligation-free, and our expert Recruiters are ready to set you up for hiring success.