Supply Chain and Construction Will Lead In-Demand Trades in the 2020s (French version available)
Demand for certain jobs rises and falls from year to year and decade to decade, but there has been an overall trend of strong growth across the trades for the past few decades. In the wake of the pandemic, this will be truer than ever before. As the country and the economy work to get back on track, many areas that rely heavily on tradespeople will be seeing a sharply increased need for workers with the right skills.
This means there will be many opportunities for new workers to enter the skilled trades over the next few years, particularly in areas related to supply chain and construction.
Modernizing the Supply Chain Will Require Skilled Tradespeople
Supply chain issues have dominated the news over the past two years, with delivery delays causing product shortages in every industry from agriculture, to retail, to manufacturing. As companies fully reopen and begin to climb back up to their pre-pandemic levels, they will need to modernize and improve their supply chains both to return to regular operations, and to future-proof against disruptions in the future. This means that there will be a significant need for skilled and knowledgeable workers in the trades. These jobs will span multiple industries, including manufacturing, air cargo and rail transport, and ecommerce deliveries.
In particular, delivery van and truck drivers have become ever more vital with the increase in food and package delivery to come out of pandemic measures that kept people at home. Even when in-person shopping and eating out make a return to normal, it is unlikely that these new levels of delivery service will subside. On the larger scale, the supply chain will need a growing number of long-haul truck drivers, last-mile delivery drivers, and warehouse workers for shipping/receiving, forklift operators, and material handling.
Customer service roles related to supply chain will also be a growing area. This includes essential retail and customer support workers both in physical retail settings, and behind the scenes of ecommerce and virtual customer experiences.
Growth in Commercial and Residential Construction Will Drive Economic Recovery
The construction industry is expected to be a significant driver of economic recovery over the next five to ten years. This industry relies heavily on tradespeople, and an increase in construction and infrastructure projects will translate into strong growth in a wide range of trades and across every province and territory.
Welders are one of the most in-demand trades in Canada, and one that is vital to the construction industry. Industrial and commercial construction projects will also require framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, stonemasons and bricklayers, pipefitters, crane and heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, and many other skilled tradespeople.
According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, top in-demand trades jobs in Ontario in 2021 included boilermaker, bricklayer, cook, and welder. In B.C., the list included boilermaker, bricklayer, carpenter, hairstylist, and welder.
New construction projects are just beginning to ramp up as we near the end of the pandemic. This means that young tradespeople who are just beginning their apprenticeships or college courses will find they have an increasing number of options when it comes time to enter the construction workforce.
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