4 tips for finding the right skilled trades job in construction

By Riley SimpsonJune 02, 2021

In the past month, 119,000 new skilled trade jobs have been posted across the U.S., and recent grads can pick from many options to pursue careers in construction

In the past 30 days, 119,000 jobs in the skilled trade industry have been posted across the U.S. – adding to a total of 281,000 currently available jobs – and according to PeopleReady Skilled Trades, the timing of graduation season is perfect for the construction openings.

As the industry weathers the current labor shortage, skilled trade jobs are becoming more abundant: PeopleReady said the average number of job postings in the sector is up 46% from this time last year and up 32% from pre-Covid-19 levels.

And the jobs pay well, too, with the average hourly wage at $22.50 and the average annual salary at approximately $47,000.

“What we see right now is a continued high demand for tradespeople, creating immediate opportunities for this year’s high school graduates to get on a solid career path right out of school,” said Jill Quinn, executive leader of PeopleReady Skilled Trades. “While most job sectors saw declines, jobs in the skilled trades grew during the economic downturn.”

Recently, Technical Education Magazine questioned the “bachelor’s degree or bust” mentality, as students and recent graduates have many opportunities to explore after school.

PeopleReady, a division of TrueBlue since 1987 that connects skilled workers with jobs, is among the many stakeholders in construction investing in workforce development and recruiting, especially during graduation season this summer.

The company offered the following tips for recent high school graduates considering the industry:

1. Complete your basic education: Getting a high school diploma or GED is critical because either is required by many jobs and apprenticeships

2. Select your specialty(or trade): For example, if someone is interested in metalworking, a career as a sheet metal worker, welder or millwright could be in the cards; for those who are undecided, working as a general laborer can help them find their interests

3. Seek training: After locking in a specialty, formal training is the next step, and there are many options: Apprenticeship programs, community college and other training opportunities are ways to learn a craft, and the Associated Builders and Contractors site is a good resource

4. Gain certifications: A technical school or community college can often help prospective skilled trade workers obtain the necessary certifications. For example, each step in the apprenticeship career path, from journeyman to master, requires additional classroom training and tests to level up

“With technical training, whether in a trade school or through an on-the-job apprenticeship, today’s high school graduates can have solid job security with very competitive pay for their entire career,” Quinn said.

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