April 29

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National Skilled Trades Day and Some Missed Opportunities

By Robert Salvador

April 29, 2022


Next Week Is National Skilled Trades Day

Here at DigiBuild we understand that the success of the construction industry relies heavily on strong and successful trades. That is why it is vital  to raise awareness of the opportunities and low entry barrier to construction careers. 

In 2021, the construction industry added 121,000 jobs overall with gains across all major subsectors.  LaborIQ  forecasts 3.9% expansion in job gains for Construction and Extraction occupations in 2022, but growth could be hindered by limited labor supply.  Data released by the Associated Builders and Contractors shows for every $1 billion in extra construction spending an average of at least 5,700 construction jobs are created.

A career in a construction trade offers benefits like steady employment and competitive compensation. Construction trade jobs also typically involve frequent physical activity, which can help employees stay healthy. You do not need a college degree to enter a construction trade, which can make these jobs more accessible to candidates who have not attended a college or university.

  • 33 percent of Americans now think trade school is a better option than college.

  • Trade schools come with less debt.

  • A trade school will generally put you into your career much faster than college.

Unlike colleges, trade schools normally require that students complete a specific number of practical hours or otherwise demonstrate their skills before graduation.

What are the opportunities for those considering construction as a career?

There are many high paying, secure opportunities to build a career in construction. Here are some of the most common construction careers I have covered previously.

  • Construction Manager

  • Carpenter

  • Electrician

  • Plumber

  • HVAC Installer

  • Equipment Operator

  • Drywall Installer

  • Roofer

  • Painter

  • Tile / Flooring Installer

  • Mason

  • Elevator Installation / Repair

  • Iron Worker

  • Sheet Metal Worker

  • Glazier

  • Solar Installer

That is quite a list to choose from!

But what about some of the less common trades tied to construction  and the opportunities they offer?

Building Inspector

Median Pay - $59,090
Growth -10%

Inspectors oversee and examine the structural quality and general safety of building construction projects. They approve building plans, monitor sites and inspect buildings that are recently finished or under construction. The ultimate goal of a building inspector is to ensure compliance with local ordinances and building and zoning codes.

Building Appraiser

Median Pay - $56,000
Growth - 3%

Property appraisers and assessors provide a value estimate on real estate and on tangible personal and business property.

Boilermaker 

Median Pay - $62,260
Growth  - 9% through 2026

A boilermaker career includes installing new boilers and locating existing boilers to perform maintenance work on them. When building new boilers, boilermakers may use robotic or automatic welders. Boilermakers must also test and inspect their assembled boiler for existing or potential leaks or defects.

Cabinet Maker

Median Pay - $52,00
Growth - 5%

Cabinet makers, sometimes known as bench carpenters, craft, cut and build cabinets for kitchens, bathrooms and other rooms. They may use existing designs or create their own to custom-fit cabinets into a space. Most cabinet makers also install the cabinets they build.

Grounds Maintenance Professional

Median Pay - $32,000
Growth - 5%

Grounds maintenance workers take care of the grounds of houses, businesses, parks and public facilities. These workers may mow grass, tend to gardens, trim hedges and trees or irrigate plants. They work almost exclusively outdoors, making this a good environment for people who liked construction because it got them outside.

Building Maintenance Professional

Median Pay - $36,000
Growth - 5%

These professionals take care of physical facilities of businesses, public facilities, and residential properties. There is a wide range of knowledge that building maintenance professionals can have and use and often these professionals move into their job after a successful career in another trade.. 

Hazardous Materials Removers

Median Pay - $46,000
Growth - 8%

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, or toxic. 

Crafter or Woodworker

Median Pay - $36,000 but can increase significantly for true craftsman
Growth - 8%

Woodworkers and crafters use wood and other materials to create custom treatments for construction. They may make anything from furniture to statement pieces. Most crafters are self-employed and make money by selling their pieces directly or through a representative.

Sprinkler Fitter

Median Pay - $44,000
Growth - 14%

A sprinkler fitter is responsible for installing, inspecting, and repairing sprinkler systems. The duties will typically include installing plumbing fixtures, fixing and replacing defective and outdated sprinklers, and soldering and welding pipes, tubes, and fittings designed for sprinklers.

Whack-A-Mole

In looking into the data for this article, I was left feeling that I am just scratching the surface when it comes to all of the opportunities available in the construction trades.  

It is important for the leaders of our industry to take the time to understand these opportunities and continue to  raise awareness. 

Technology is Going to Play a Major Factor

Even when you consider all of the upsides for a career in construction, the labor shortage is causing owners, general contractors and other trades to consider labor saving methods. Technology in methods, machinery and systems are all becoming more prevalent in the construction office and on the jobsite.

  • A reduction in labor supply encouraged builders to adopt more labor-saving technology faster than usual.

  • Improvement in the scheduling and logistics of building materials delivery.

  • Increased use of prefabrication and modularization.

  • BIM, Smart Contracts and Blockchain will be increasingly in use

Robert Salvador

About The Author

Rob Salvador is the visionary driving force behind DigiBuild, an experienced builder, project manager and construction technologist. Since the age of 10, Rob has witnessed what it was like, firsthand for his Dad struggling to run his construction company. He eventually started his own construction company and those experiences and the lack of change over that time span led to his mission of creating a better way to operate construction projects and the construction community. Rob’s passion and previous cryptocurrency startup experiences are what led to him becoming a blockchain expert. In 2017 he had his ‘aha moment’ and the idea of 'how to' apply blockchain to construction took form and DigiBuild was born.

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