Demand for skilled trades workers is on the rise as North America's labour shortage is only expected to get worse.

In a post-COVID lockdown world, many workers are demanding more from potential employers, especially in hit hard industries like food services and hospitality. As these industries struggle to attract new workers, the trades industry faces a similar problem - despite offering good wages and high job satisfaction.

Job vacancies are on the rise

In March 2021, Statistics Canada reported a job vacancy rate of 5.8 per cent, the highest since 2015 and well above the national average; however, a labour shortage in the trades has been looming for years.

With 700,000 skilled trades workers expected to retire by 20281 (in Canada alone) and a general lack of interest by young people to enter a career in the trades, the shortage is only expected to get exponentially worse.

According to a 2021 report from RBC, Canadians can expect to see a shortage of 10,000 workers in nationally recognized Red Seal trades in the next five years1. The report identifies industrial mechanics, welders, boilermakers, and bricklayers as the careers that will face the largest shortages.

Trades jobs offer well-paying careers with high job satisfaction - so why is the industry experiencing a labour shortage?

Trades jobs aren't attractive to young people.

One of the biggest threats to the future of the trades is an inability to attract young talent. Despite ballooning student debt in both Canada and the United States, the majority of Millennials and Gen-Zers are still gravitating towards a four-year University degree and the accompanying careers.

Addressing the trade industry's perception problem will be essential to getting youth excited about a rewarding career in the trades.

Modernizing recruitment

According to Angi's Skilled Trades in America Report for 2021, "word of mouth recommendation" is still the preferred method for recruitment in the trades. Considering that the overwhelming majority of trades workers are male and a median age of 433, it's very likely that only a narrow demographic of workers are being exposed to job opportunities through word of mouth recommendations.

The report also states that only one-in-three trades workers use online job searches - compare that to the reported 80 per cent of all Americans who use online searches when looking for a new job.

How can SkillsTrader help?

  • Traditional online job platforms do not cater to the trades, but at SkillsTrader, it's all we do.

  • As a business owner, posting your job online through SkillsTrader opens it up to a diverse audience of candidates and allows you to easily identify and select the most qualified candidate for the job.

  • As a trades worker, SkillsTrader allows you to browse and easily apply to thousands of relevant job opportunities on a single platform. SkillsTrader also allows you to access training courses to refine your skills or retrain for a new, in-demand career.

We want to hear from you!

How concerned are you about the labour shortage?