Why We Need Tradespersons
Can you imagine a world without tradespersons? Without electricians, there would be no electricity to light our homes at night and we would use candles like back in the Stonehenge days. Without plumbers, there would be no running water in our homes and we would bathe in rivers or lakes. Without HVAC people, we would have no heating, and for us who live in cold climates, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would be. Without tradespersons, the world would be a very different place.
Opportunities are increasing in the trades. By 2020, we’ll be short of one million tradespersons, with the residential housing industry alone needing nearly 100,000 more by 2023. The average age of welders is 57, and many trade workers across all categories are also in their 50s. So, if you prepare yourself for a trades career with the proper schooling and training plus you’re willing to relocate, you would find a job more easily than people in non-trade occupations.
Tradespersons will always be needed. How many times have you heard complaints from family or friends about not being able to find a reliable renovator, plumber or roofer? As a tradesperson, you’ll have less worry about boom-and-bust cycles, offshoring or automation. Not only homeowners need reliable trade workers, but you’ll also be needed in schools, offices, plants, factories and more.
Increased freedom and mobility is another perk of being a trades worker. You can either work fulltime in a unionized or non-unionized environment or be your own boss. Although self-employment varies by trade, it has increased steadily and at a higher rate in the trades than in other occupations. In 1987, only 9% of tradespersons were self-employed compared with 15% in 2007. Today, it’s probably higher.
For some trades, wages have increased steadily especially for those in unionized positions such as electricians, crane operators and plumbers. For employees in unionized trades, salaries averaged $22.36 per hour, 6% higher than the $21.02 in other occupations.
A career in the trades is not just about being a carpenter, plumber or electrician. Service careers like hair stylists, chefs and painters also classify as skilled trades; and a lot of them make good money and enjoy a high standard of living. A hair stylist can make as much as $49K per year or $16.29 per hour, and even more if they have their own salon. A kitchen chef earns, on average, $14.97 per hour or $49K per year, and salaries increase if they move up the ladder to executive chef or head chef. And, if you have a bit of a flair for art and colour, as a painter you can make even more: $19.85 per hour or $61K per year, depending on your location.
Like other careers, you need to be willing to work hard and do what it takes to succeed. If you want an interesting career where you can help build a better world and increase quality of life, a trades career may be the right path for you.
Giselle Mazurat received her designation as a Certified Resume Strategist from the Career Professionals of Canada. She also writes technical and business content for government and private companies. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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