A few decades ago, it seemed that everyone wanted to work in an office job. High school students were told to go to college and get a four-year education to launch their career. Of course, that wasn’t the only option then, and it isn’t now.
The truth is that skilled trades careers have long been a steady, well-paying, reliable job option. Now that office jobs aren’t as easy to come by as they were 20 years ago, and with the skyrocketing—and often prohibitively expensive—cost of college education today, skilled trades jobs make a lot of sense for a lot of people.
But what are the advantages of obtaining a skilled trades job, and of attending school to study a skilled trade? Let’s take a closer look at this field to learn more about the many reasons why skilled trades are so beneficial, and why now is a great time to enter a skilled trades career.
Advantages of Attending Trade School in this Economy
Before we discuss the advantages of trade labor jobs themselves, let’s consider the many advantages of attending trade school—especially right now.
While expense is always relative, trade schools tend to be far less expensive than traditional colleges. The average Bachelor’s degree can cost upwards of $100,000, and interest adds even more to that if the education is financed primarily through loans. On the flipside, a skilled trades program costs around $30,000, or even less. And because skilled trades jobs tend to pay well, it’s typically easier for tradespeople to pay back their schooling than it is for someone who attended a four-year university.
Can Enter the Workforce Faster
Another advantage of attending a skilled trades school is that it takes far less time to complete a degree than it would in a four-year institution. Skilled trades programs might last as short as six months, and many last a year or two years. In any case, that’s a far shorter time in school than you’ll spend getting a typical college degree over the course of four years or more. That means you’ll be getting into the workforce faster and starting to earn an income before your traditional collegiate peers.
The outlook for job stability in the trades fields is very good. The pool of candidates with traditional four-year degrees is highly saturated, making it difficult to find high-paying jobs. But skilled trades are experiencing shortages of qualified professionals, leaving plenty of vacant spots to be filled.
Plus, it’s much harder for employers to outsource skilled trade jobs—many jobs performed by white-collar workers can be outsourced or even automated, but skilled trades still require people working hands-on. And with the Baby Boomer population aging out of the workforce, more skilled trades than ever are opening up. All of that is good news for job stability in the skilled trades, and it’s not going away any time soon.
Benefits of Trade Labor
We’ve learned about the benefits of skilled trade school versus traditional college education. How about the jobs themselves? You’ll find that there is a plethora of benefits to working a skilled trade—they pay well, there’s room for growth, it’s good for you physically and mentally, and there’s built-in flexibility.
Salary & Growth Opportunities
There’s a misconception that white-collar jobs pay higher than blue-collar ones. The fact is that this simply isn’t the case. Sure, a hedge-fund manager makes more than a welder, but the top earners of white-collar workers don’t represent the vast majority.
Consider this: the income ceiling for white collar jobs may be higher than blue collar jobs, but the median income is higher for blue collar. That means that more blue-collar workers make a better living than white-collar workers, even though some white-collar workers earn more money.
To put it another way, you could be taking a gamble with your four-year college degree by spending thousands on your education only to get a mediocre-paying job. With the skilled trades, it’s a sure bet—you’ll make a good living coming out of school and have far less debt to pay back.
Completing Manual Tasks Can Improve Mental Health
While boredom can happen at any job, many tradespeople tend to be much happier with their work lives than white-collar workers. And the truth is that completing tasks with your hands simply feels good—it’s good for your mental health, too. Neuroscientists have even found that working hands-on with tools and materials impacts your brain’s physiology and chemical response. Performing manual tasks releases serotonin and endorphins while lowering cortisol levels, the body’s main stress hormone.
There’s also something to be said for the physical side of skilled trades work. Most jobs that require a college degree will leave you sitting at a desk all day, staring at a computer screen. And this isn’t good for your physical health. Trade jobs, on the other hand, tend to be more active and involve physical activity, which is good for your body and mind.
Keep in mind that the majority of shift jobs are skilled trades. This means you can get some flexibility in your schedule. Employers might offer the traditional shifts, like day shift, second shift, or night shift, and you’ll probably be able to pick what shift works best for your lifestyle. There are also flexible start and end times available in some jobs, or three-on four-off shifts, for example. For many workers, having that flexibility is far preferable to sitting at a desk 40 or 50 hours per week, all day, every day.
Why It’s Great To Use a Staffing Agency to Get Started in Trades
Have you ever considered using a professional staffing agency to get started in your skilled trades career? The fact is that there are many advantages to partnering with a firm like the CTR Group.
Here are just a few of the many great reasons to start your skilled trades journey with staffing firm:
Temporary Jobs Allow You to Test Out the New Job
Temp jobs are common in the skilled trades, and they’re a great thing for many skilled tradespeople. That’s because temporary jobs let you test the waters of a new job, from the working experience to your coworkers to your supervisors. That gives you a good idea of the worksite environment and the type of job in general, allowing you to make smarter decisions about your future career and job preferences.
Temp-to-hire agencies specialize in contract-to-permanent (sometimes called temp-to-perm) jobs, too. This is a work arrangement in which you’re hired on a temporary basis, and at the end of a specified period, you and the employer decide whether you’ll join the team full-time. It’s another great temporary work option that is common in the skilled trades.
Build a Network Quickly
Working with a staffing agency allows you to quickly build your professional network within your specified industry. You’ll connect with your recruiter, co-workers, managers, supervisors, and other individuals through the course of your hiring and recruitment process. These people can serve as excellent references in the future if you’re hunting for a new job. Plus, having a professional recruiter as a part of your network is always a good thing for future job prospects.
Streamline the Job Seeking Process
Working with a staffing firm helps to streamline and simplify the job hunt, not to mention making it much more likely you’ll find a job you love. Blindly submitting applications on job boards might not get you anywhere. Working with a recruiter, on the other hand, means you’re taking a targeted, planned approach to your job search and career as a whole.
Start Your Career in Skilled Trades Today
Interested in partnering with a staffing agency to launch your skilled trades career? CTR Group is here to help. Whether it’s a short-term contract job to explore a chosen field, a temp-to-permanent role that allows you to “test drive” an employer before committing full-time, or a full-time role right off the bat, we’ll get to know you and your background in order to place you in a job that you deserve.
CTR Group is a full-service staffing firm serving clients and candidates for more than 30 years. If you’re ready to work with our expert recruiters and find your next skilled trades job, contact a member of our skilled trades recruitment team today.