What are the Benefits of Working in the Skilled Trades?
Nowadays, a university education no longer guarantees a reliable job with career growth potential. This is not the case with the skilled trades and it is just one reason that a career in the skilled trades industry is looking more and more appealing. Perhaps you are at the start of your career or at a career crossroads and considering something different—give the skilled trades some thought….
Hundreds of Options—Literally
Did you know that there are over 200 skilled trades practiced in Canada? This staggering list is organized into four categories: construction, transportation, manufacturing, and service. You are bound to find something that fits your interests! For example, if you are interested in airplanes, consider becoming an aviation technician (a transportation skilled trade). And did you know that chefs, hairstylists, and horticulturists are all considered skilled trades? They are examples of service trades.
Show Me the Money
Everyone wants to know about the money, right? You’ll be happy to know that Statistics Canada reports a declining wage gap between tradespeople and people with bachelor degrees. Between 2000 and 2011, tradespeople aged 25 to 34 working full-time saw a 14% increase in their weekly wage. On the other hand, university graduates of the same age experienced a 1% increase.
Let’s take a close look at workers in the construction trades, which include electricians, plumbers, roofers, and welders. Income levels and employment benefits will vary depending on the specific trade and where you work, but on average, construction workers earn $61,762 annually—compare that to the average in all other industries: $47,359. The difference is enough to buy 15 iPhone 7s!
Job Satisfaction: You’re Happy, I’m Happy
The money is great, but according to Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work, the satisfaction of seeing a job well done is the number one reason people consider a career in the skilled trades. A tradesperson works with their hands, uses their knowledge and experience to build something tangible: a two-story house, an elaborate meal, a stunning haircut. Tradespeople rightly take pride in what they accomplish day after day. They know someone is benefiting from their work—and that satisfaction may be the greatest benefit to working in the skilled trades.
The skilled trades offer an appealing alternative to the tired, increasingly elusive narrative of go to university, graduate, get a job. A career as a tradesperson offers many benefits, three of which are described above. You will have your pick of multiple trades, major earning potential, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
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