Skilled Worker Shortage Hurts Economy, Spurs Trade School Education

by Doug Schmitt
Skilled Worker Shortage Hurts Economy, Spurs Trade School Education

Employers across the trades are beginning to experience a shortage of skilled workers in fields ranging from auto mechanics and HVAC to steam fitting and welding. Baby Boomers make up a majority of those employed in such jobs and as they retire, their positions remain unfilled. In fact, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of vacant skilled worker positions will be more than 5 million by 2010. If something doesn't change soon, that number could multiply to 14 million by 2015.

Since the mid-1970's, the standard for graduating high school seniors was to pursue a 4-year degree from a traditional college or university. Often, parents would push their children to pursue a 4-year degree saying “Don't be like me. Go to college.” Presently, the effects are being felt across the U.S. economy and in people's lives. Students passed up education related to trades and the number of qualified personnel in trades such as refrigeration, pipefitting, and metal work remained in a state of decline with each passing year. Now, a surplus of men and women with 4-year degrees that they do not or cannot use continues to grow, and those same individuals are unqualified to do skilled work.

As more skilled worker positions continue to remain unfilled, some employers are resorting to asking retired workers to come out of retirement to work part-time; others are simply hiring unqualified personnel, resulting in a loss of productivity. Additionally, the skilled worker shortage is driving salaries skyward. A report recently published by renowned recruiting agency Manpower Professional, states that the shortage of skilled workers is forcing up wages for these jobs, and that 25% of employers surveyed said they were paying higher salaries for qualified workers.

The current lack of available skilled workers and the amount of unfilled positions proves to be quite a problem for employers across a number of industries. For the workers however, this proves to be a bastion of opportunity as a number of trades are considered to be recession-proof. When combined with rising wages, this poses a lucrative opportunity for job seekers. Many adults are going back to school and high-school seniors are rethinking the 4-year education that is believed to be the standard in exchange for 2-year programs that are trade-specific.

Where does one begin to research a 2-year program? features an extensive directory of 2-year schools and programs to help make students' educational decisions a little easier. Additionally, it provides students with career advice and guidance to help them choose the career and program that fits them best. aims to help the student every step of the way.

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