Talent Gap Challenges Future of American Skilled Trade Workforce
Last week ADP released its June 2011 National Employment Report and estimated that employment grew three times faster than in May in the service sector generating more than 130,000 jobs. That’s 18 months of consecutive growth in employment for US service workers. The report however does not go into detail about the opportunities that are left unfilled.
Manpower, a leader in permanent recruitment workforce solutions released the Talent Shortage 2011 Survey Results this past May. Manpower concludes that organizations are challenged with finding skilled trade talent when they need to fill a role. They go on to report that 22% of employers say their applicants lack the technical competencies or “hard” skills needed for the job. Six out of the top ten jobs employers are having difficulty filling have a direct impact on the field service industry and include the following:
- Technicians ranked #1- Skilled Trades Workers ranked#3- Engineers ranked #4- Laborers ranked #5- IT Staff ranked #8- Production Operators ranked #9
The lack in skilled trade talent is not a new problem facing Americans, in fact back in 1984 Congress passed The Carl D. Perkins Vocational Act known as the Perkins Act which was intended to improve the skills of the labor force and prepare adults for skilled trade job opportunities. The Perkins Act has been reauthorized throughout the years. President Clinton signed the modified “Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act” in 1998 providing more flexible use of funds to states and President Bush signed another version of the act in 2006 which provided an increased focus on the academic achievement of career and technical education students, strengthen the connections between secondary and postsecondary education and improve state and local accountability.
Mike Rowe, creator, executive producer and host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs recently addressed the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the lack of skilled trade talent facing our nation. “I believe we need a national PR campaign for skilled labor. A big one. Something that addresses the widening skills gap head on, and reconnects the country with the most important part of our workforce,” said Rowe. “Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions. There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The skills gap is real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They’re retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.”
With an aging infrastructure and a generation of skilled trades’ people facing retirement would you believe that only six percent of high school students hope to have a future career in the skilled trades according to a recent survey conducted by RIDGID. Growth field service industries like HVAC will need 29 percent more technicians by 2014 according to the department of labor and emerging future green energy initiatives like smart grid and solar technologies will require smart, motivated and skilled workers.
So where do we go from here? Reading deeper into the RIDGID survey you’ll find that 15% of high school students want to be actors, musicians or TV anchormen. How do we make the trades cool enough for kids to want to pursue a career working with their hands? How does a country which was founded on the Amercian worker and once known for its leading ingenuity compete and prepare itself for future technologies? How much will it cost to have a plumber to come out and fix your furnace in 2030?
About The Author
: Steve Teneriello is the Founder of The Service Coach and is a seasoned senior marketing strategist and business development professional experienced in both residential and commercial sales and digital marketing. Throughout his career Steve has worked with over 300 small to medium-sized service business owners helping them develop and implement systematic and formula driven marketing, sales and operations strategies that fuel growth and profitability. Learn More About Steve Here