Survey shows people are unaware of skilled trades opportunities

A new survey of young workers suggests that people are sadly misinformed about the opportunities offered by skilled trades and trade schools.

While Canada suffers a shortage of skilled trades workers, people are becoming less likely to go into these jobs, which have come to be viewed as less attractive career prospects. The new poll, conducted by BigRentz, a US construction equipment rental network, highlights the need to better educate the public of the benefits of vocational training to fill the huge skills gap facing North America.

The demand for skilled labour in North America has never been higher. Canada, specifically, is experiencing a record labour shortage, with a desperate need for workers in the skilled trades, including welders, electricians, and mechanics. Contractors say the shortage of skilled workers means they have to turn down jobs and can’t bid on projects.

North American employers are struggling to fill more than seven million new job openings, while trade school enrolment is on the decline.

BigRentz surveyed 3,000 people aged 18-24 about the advantages of a trade school over a four-year college. The results showed:

  • Only 11% think trade schools lead to high paying jobs.
  • 54% think the trade school pay gap is higher than it really is.
  • Young workers do not associate job security with trade schools.
  • 41% of young adults would actually attend a trade school for better job opportunities and pay.

Scott Cannon, CEO of BigRentz, commented, “I speak to contractors on a daily basis whose businesses are affected by not having the skilled employees they need for the job. It’s time we seek positive action and address the skills gap that’s impacting our economy. Across Europe, and in countries like Switzerland, 70 percent of young people are apprentices, providing the country with a steady stream of trained, experienced workers – it’s time we took a page out of their book.”

He added, “I’m hoping this survey goes a long way in showing young people the truth about vocational training and also proves to our industry and to our government the need for better education and awareness among the public.”

Think the skilled trades don’t offer good career opportunities? Here’s a list of the 10 best-paid skilled trades jobs in Canada, with project job growth, from trade-schools.net. 

1. Construction Manager

Median hourly wage – $38.46 ($79,996 a year)
Top-end hourly wage  – $58.50+
Projected job openings through 2024  – 26,700
Areas expecting the highest demand – BC, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, and the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec

[Construction jobs on CareerBeacon]

2. Oil and Gas Driller

Median hourly wage – $35 ($72,800 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $55+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 5,500
Areas expecting the highest demand – Alberta

[Oil and gas jobs on CareerBeacon]

3. Power Line Technician

Median hourly wage – $34.65 ($72,072 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $44+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 8,400 (includes telecommunications line workers)
Areas expecting the highest demand – BC, Ontario, the Camrose-Drumheller region of Alberta, and the North Central and South Central regions of Manitoba

4. Pipefitter

Median hourly wage – $34 ($70,720 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $45.69+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 9,800
Areas expecting the highest demand—BC, Manitoba, the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region of Alberta, and the Halifax region of Nova Scotia

5. Industrial Electrician

Median hourly wage – $33 ($68,640 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $45+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 12,500
Areas expecting the highest demand – BC, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, the Northwest region of Ontario, the Saskatoon-Biggar region of Saskatchewan, and the North and Parklands regions of Manitoba

[Electrician jobs on CareerBeacon]

6. HVAC Mechanic

Median hourly wage – $29.76 ($61,900 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $43+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 14,700
Areas expecting the highest demand – BC, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec

[HVAC jobs on CareerBeacon]

7. Civil Engineering Technician

Median hourly wage – $29 ($60,320 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $47.12+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 10,600
Areas expecting the highest demand – Ontario, Quebec, and the Lower Mainland-Southwest region of BC

8. Residential or Commercial Electrician

Median hourly wage – $29 ($60,320 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $43+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 39,200
Areas expecting the highest demand – BC, Manitoba, and the Northeast, Northwest, and Toronto regions of Ontario

9. Heavy Duty Mechanic

Median hourly wage – $28 ($58,240 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $42+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 31,400 (includes auto mechanics)
Areas expecting the highest demand – BC, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, the Laurentides region of Quebec, and the North Central, South Central, and Southeast regions of Manitoba

[Mechanic jobs on CareerBeacon]

10. Plumber

Median hourly wage – $28 ($58,240 a year)
Top-end hourly wage – $39+
Projected job openings through 2024 – 13,900
Areas expecting the highest demand – PEI, the Interlake region of Manitoba, and the Cariboo, Nechako, and North Coast regions of BC

[Plumbing jobs on CareerBeacon]

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