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Skilled Labor Shortage Worsening Amid Soaring Demand

Aug. 20, 2021
Job postings up 50% from pre-pandemic levels; opportunities ripe for those looking for career changes

Before the pandemic began, the construction industry was already at a massive deficit for skilled tradespeople – and demand just kept increasing every month during the economic downturn. It’s now experiencing explosive demand coupled with a worsening worker shortage. In fact, according to new analysis by PeopleReady’s skilled trades division, 388,345 jobs were posted for skilled trades-related workers between May and June, which amounts to a 50% increase from pre-pandemic levels (with most positions remaining unfilled for an average of 24 days).  

Amid an overall workforce shortage, the gap between demand and supply for tradespeople is only growing wider. However, this has created significant opportunities for anyone looking to make a career change.

“Whether you’re someone who left the skilled trades to pursue other work or are looking to get your start on a new career path in a booming industry, now is a great time to join the skilled trades. The jobs not only pay well and provide steady employment but can also offer the kind of flexibility workers are looking for right now,” said Jill Quinn, executive leader of PeopleReady Skilled Trades. “We are seeing explosive growth in the skilled trades industry right now. As businesses struggle to find skilled tradespeople amid current workforce challenges, more of them are turning to contingent workforces to help get the job done.”

According to the analysis comparing job posting growth since before the pandemic, some of the skilled jobs that have seen the most growth include:

  • Concrete masons top the list with 904% growth in demand compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
  • Job postings for window glaziers soared 422%.
  • House painters saw a 329% increase.
  • Electricians have risen 130%.
  • Plumbers are up 129%.
  • And carpenters are up 121%. 

PeopleReady Skilled Trades notes that in addition to the need for skilled tradespeople, there are also plenty of helper or beginner positions available in nearly all of the trades for those looking to get their start in the skilled trades.

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