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US labour market experiences gap in construction workers, plumbers, welders- McKinsey report

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The U.S. skilled labor market is experiencing a gap in the availability of construction workers, plumbers, welders, and skilled trades.

According to research from McKinsey & Co., seen by ThePressNG, the country is experiencing record-high pressure for these roles. This is due to an increasing number of workers getting into retirement, and simultaneously, fewer young people training to fill those roles, which actually do not necessitate a college degree, yet pay well and provides robust job security.

Similarly, data from Payscale and ZipRecruiter have indicated that the most in-demand jobs which companies are hiring for right now, and don’t require a degree — are in construction, manufacturing and plumbing.

The report indicates that labour shortages, exacerbated by disruptions to in-person work and material shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic, have intensified competition for talent.

As a result, wages for skilled trade jobs have increased by more than 20% since the first quarter of 2020.

The demand for skilled tradespeople is anticipated to rise over the next decade and remain high in the U.S., driven by infrastructure needs, a boom in real estate redevelopment, and investments in renewable energy.

Here are some of job titles and median wages in construction industry:

Median salary: $84,600

Median salary: $71,800

Median salary: $61,500

It’s important to note that there are different levels of certification for some trade jobs including plumbers and electricians. For plumbers, there are three levels: Apprentice, journeyman and master.

If you want to work as a journeyman plumber, you’ll need to work as an apprentice under a licensed master plumber for at least 2 years, depending on your state’s requirements, according to Indeed.

To identify which high-paying jobs are in the highest demand, ZipRecruiter examined hiring trends for these positions over the past six months to determine which jobs experienced the most significant growth in openings.

Each of these jobs registered at least a 16% increase in openings on ZipRecruiter from October 2023 to March 2024.

Similarly, Payscale noted that Construction superintendents experienced the most substantial rise in demand, with job openings increasing by more than 128%.

Ruth Thomas, a pay equity strategist with Payscale, notes that careers in construction, manufacturing, and home services, which have traditionally valued skills over academic degrees in recruitment, continue to offer some of the best opportunities for individuals to earn up to six figures without a college degree.

Although more companies are dropping degree requirements for jobs, skills-based hiring is still a newer trend that “hasn’t become common practice” across all industries just yet, Thomas adds.

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