How You Can Take Advantage of the Skilled Labor Shortage
September 14, 2021
There is currently a skilled labor shortage in the United States. This means there are more jobs available than workers to fill them.
One factor leading to this skilled trade labor shortage is the changing workforce. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age. Many of these retirees leave behind skilled trade jobs at which they have worked for decades. The problem: younger people who are looking for employment are not qualified to fill these now-vacant positions due to lack of experience and training.
As Baby Boomers continue to retire, employers are struggling to fill the positions left behind.
Baby Boomers make up a large portion of the skilled trade workforce. Approximately five million Baby Boomers work in the construction trade industry. Of those five million, more than 500,000 work as electricians.
Millions of jobs will be left vacant as the oldest generation of the workforce retires. This is a big reason why 80% of contractors say they struggle to hire enough workers.
But trade employers who need to fill vacant positions say much of the available workforce is unqualified. It takes at least a few years to attain journeyperson status in the trades. To become a journeyperson electrician you must get your trainee card, work the required hours as an apprentice or trainee, and pass a state exam. This generally takes four years, but can take longer.
It doesn’t matter if you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. Now is the perfect time to enter the trades, work your way up to journeyperson status, and take advantage of the vacant job positions left behind by retirees.
The skilled labor shortage means there is ample opportunity to earn a relatively high income working in the trades.
Employers are looking for workers across all industries. Some industries pay more than others. Low pay is one reason workers are leaving careers in retail, hospitality, and even warehouse and manufacturing.
These workers are quitting to seek better-paying jobs. And while the trades are having difficulty hiring new workers, low pay is not a concern. Once you become a journeyperson, you can earn an income that is much higher than minimum wage. The median average salary for electricians in the United States is $56,900. That works out to $27.36 per hour of work (assuming a 40 hour work week). Federal minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour.
But wages vary depending on where you are. In California, the median pay for electricians as of 2021 is $69,956. This works out to $33.62 per hour, more than twice California’s minimum wage of $14.00 per hour.
It does not matter how old you are or what stage of life you are in—if you want a high paying career in an industry with ample job opportunities, joining the trades is a good choice. Not only are there more jobs currently open than there are workers, but the pay, for electricians in particular, is significantly higher than minimum wage.
Job opportunities in the trades are widely available. Older generations are retiring, leaving job positions that employers must fill. However, younger generations do not yet have the experience necessary to fill these roles. On top of this, millions of people across the country are looking for higher paying careers in the wake of the pandemic, and a career in the trades can provide a higher than average income.
To become a journeyperson you must attend trade school. I-TAP is a Sacramento-based electrical training school. We offer electrical trainee and apprenticeship programs. Our goal is to prepare you to take the state exam and enter the workforce. If you are interested in becoming an electrician, don’t hesitate—contact I-TAP today!
Ready to learn a skilled trade and work on some of the most exciting commercial construction projects in California and beyond?
I-TAP is an electrical apprenticeship program that helps you find your passion, grow your skills, and place you in the perfect electrician job.