According to new data from Stanley Black & Decker, about 80% of young people and their parents are worried about how they will pay for college. Skilled business can be a career answer.
Lately, the national talent deficit has attracted a lot of attention. And for good reason: it’s affecting almost every industry in America. But the lack of qualified workers is not a new phenomenon for those who are in skilled trades. Also known as skill gap, it is a challenge they have been fighting for decades.
Now, as Baby Boomer talent retires as the ‘Silver Tsunami’, employers of skilled businesses such as construction, advanced manufacturing, electricity, healthcare, aerospace, ironwork and many more are becoming more desperate to replace them. So why aren’t more general-jars interested in these demand areas?
To find out, the Stanley Black & Decker Opening Makers Index surveyed three main groups: 14-19 year old high school students, parents of high school students, and skilled business workers. Surprisingly, the study found that while many young people have unconventional ideas about business, about one in four (23%) agree that skilled trades work with the latest technology and one in five (18%) agree that the job is in high demand.
In fact, the survey found that 89% of skilled entrepreneurs say they work with state-of-the-art technology and 94% say their job demand is high. So why is there so much disconnect between public perception and the real living experience of skilled traders? I have long believed that skill gaps start with an awareness gap; Young people and their parents do not know enough about the huge career opportunities in skilled trades.
The Stanley Black & Deckers Makers Index focuses on the challenges facing the skilled trading industry in four key areas: exposure, financial stability, accessibility and gender equality. Let’s examine the strategies that address both the gap of perception and awareness that exists around each of these fields and the gap that accompanies it.
Perception: “Young people get thorough career counseling from their school, parents and other sources so they can make the best choices after high school.”
Reality: Only four out of ten young people (42%) have had direct contact with someone in a skilled trade about their career opportunities. Absolutely 37% did not talk to anyone about the possibility of entering a skilled trade career. Only three out of ten (29%) feel that they fully understand the steps to start a skilled trading career.
Strategy: To plan their future, Gen-Z is returning to their acquaintances, such as parents (48%), friends and classmates (44%) and teachers (43%). To reach the next generation, employers must also reach out to all of these groups at the cost of a skilled business career. Media is one way to make that connection. Print, online, social and other media all play a role, with more than six out of 10 employees with less than 10 years of experience saying that the media has influenced their career planning.
2. Financial stability
Perception: “Skilled trade jobs pay very little, especially for entry-level workers.”
Only 42% of those surveyed believe that skilled tradesmen earn at least 50,000. One in five young people (19%) think the starting salary for a skilled trade worker is less than $ 20,000.
Reality: In reality, half of the current skilled trade workers with less than 10 years of experience earn at least $ 50,000 to get started. Five years later, a person who attends a trade school and then starts working will have an average of $ 140,000 ahead of a student enrolled in a four-year college before working.
Strategy: There are significant financial incentives to run a skilled business and more young people need to know about them After surveyed students were informed about the financial benefits of an efficient trade pathway in college, about half (43%) were much more positive about an efficient trade career.
Perception: “Skilled trades are hard, cruel, manual labor and that’s why young people don’t want to follow them.”
Reality: According to the data, only 12% say that their hatred of manual labor is the primary reason why they do not go into skilled business. Instead, most say they are moving away from these careers because of poor fit (40%) or lack of skills (56%).
Strategy: Extreme physical exertion No. Less than any other type of work — and it can be very productive. Employers should partner with schools so that young people get their hands dirty in high school and even before they gain a skilled trade career experience. It is easy to find skilled business careers at the table when students are at the decision making stage of their education and training journey.
4. Gender equality
Perception: “Skilled trade occupations are more suitable for men than women.”
Adolescent boys are more familiar with skilled trades than adolescent girls (53% vs. 36%) and are more likely to consider a career in a skilled trade (64% vs. 49%). Compared to 69% of boys, less than half of young women surveyed that skilled business would be a good way for them. Similarly, parents are more than twice as likely as mothers (47% vs. 22%) to say that a skilled trade occupation is an attractive choice for their child.
Reality: Efficient trade for all. I have previously covered the story of Megan, an enterprising young welder who is often employed by men to enrich her career. Or consider the journey of Emily, who earned two college degrees just to become an ironworker for a fulfilling career. To bridge the skills gap, we need employees of all genders to strengthen the future of skilled business.
Strategy: Employers need to target messaging to all students (and parents), but also to raise awareness of skilled trades as a preferred career choice for young women.
Why General-Z should be considered an efficient trade
Interestingly, Stanley Black & Decker found that 85% of young people and 94% of parents think that skilled business work is a good quality career option. But less than half (49%) of Gen-Z have ever considered a skilled trading career, and far fewer (16%) say they are more likely to consider a skilled trading profession.
They are not looking at the whole picture. Young people, their parents and their career counselors may think that they know all the options, but the knowledge gaps revealed by the survey indicate that many do not know it. This presents a major challenge for skilled trade employers and for the country as a whole. How will our economy move forward in the world market without a new generation of ‘creators, builders and protectors’?
The cost of ballooning the path to college and university can inadvertently contribute to the cause of a skilled business career. How they are going to pay for college is a major concern for young people (81%) and their parents (78%). When asked, 87% of Gen-Z and 93% of their parents agree that completing a four-year degree is more attractive than starting a career early. For many of these young people, skilled business can be a career answer.
As the workforce continues to innovate, there has never been a better time to fill the awareness gap between Zen-Z and a productive career in skilled business.