You’ve likely heard of someone being “in the trades” or being a “tradesperson.” You may have even heard someone say: “You’d do well in the trades!” But, what is a trade job, and how is it different from other jobs or professions?
Back to school. For many, that means the start of another year of long hours in classes and lectures, writing papers, doing projects, studying, and working towards a future career. There’s a ton of merit to higher education and working hard towards a long term goal, but for many, slogging through years of coursework just to graduate with debt, no real-world experience, and only a prayer of finding a job isn’t an exciting or viable option.
Electrical work is a booming trade. The demand for skilled electrical workers is already high, and only expected to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of over 8% between 2019 and 2029, which is double that of the projection for all other occupations. If you’re searching for a career that is not only fulfilling, but can give you job security, interesting projects, and great benefits, look no further than electrical work. Wondering how to get started?
College certainly isn’t for everybody. We all have different passions, dreams, talents, and career aspirations. For many, the education required to reach those goals doesn’t have to come from a four-year college or university.
Thinking about a new career? Looking for work that you can not only be proud of and fulfilled by, but a career that is built on real, lasting skills that is secure and can’t be outsourced or automated? Look no further than a career in the building trades!
We spend nearly 30 percent of our lives working, yet over 50% of U.S. workers aren’t satisfied with their jobs. When you spend so much of your precious time and life at work, finding a career that’s fulfilling and rewarding should be of the utmost importance.
Have you ever heard the expression “You can’t have your cake and eat it too?” We’re guessing you have, but if you haven’t, it essentially means that you can’t have more than is reasonable, or that you can’t have the best of two worlds. When it comes to most things in life, there are clear tradeoffs, and career paths are perceived the same way: work longer hours, get a higher salary; pay a ton for a college degree, earn more money later; do the grunt work, hope you’ll get a chance to climb up the ladder later.
When you think of the building trades, you think of men, plain and simple. But did you know that women actually have a long history in the trades and labor movement?
The earliest records go back to the 13th century in Spain, but women were likely involved in building long before then. Though historically, women often haven’t gotten the fame or the glory for much of the work they’ve done, women have proven time and time again, century after century, that work in the building trades is far from “man’s work.”
For example, did you know that we can thank a woman, Emily Warren Roebling, for the Brooklyn Bridge? Her father in-law designed the bridge, and her husband took over as the chief engineer on the job after his father passed away. That is, until he himself fell very ill and became bedridden. Dedicated to seeing the project to completion, Emily first served as a liaison, relaying information between her husband and his assistants on-site. But over time, Emily took over the majority of the project management, day-to-day supervision, and became unofficially known as the chief engineer of the project. In 1883, after 14 years of construction, 10 of them with Emily at the helm, Emily Warren Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge and is hailed as the first woman engineer.
And of course, we all know and love Rosie the Riveter of the World War II era, who made a HUGE impact on a generation of women in the workforce. Such an impact, that in less than 5 years, women rose from 27% to 37% of the workforce thanks to the government’s campaign. These women were the pioneers for women in the skilled trades, and they did much more than rivet - they served as electricians, welders, engine repair mechanics, manufacturers, and much more - and they did it well. They took great pride in their work and played an undeniable role in the war effort. Without these women’s gumption, our country, economy, and our current workforce would have suffered considerably. They helped to pave the way.
Sadly, after the war was over many women returned to their pre-war lives, and their presence in the trades waned over time. Today, women comprise only 10.3 percent of the construction workforce in the US. Women are clearly an untapped resource for the skilled trades. The benefits of having more women in the workforce are undeniable, and the skilled trades want and need more women.
Ladies, the skilled trades need you! The career opportunities are bountiful, the work is rewarding, and the sky is truly the limit in terms of opportunities. Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly income of a union construction worker substantially exceeds sixteen out of the twenty most common occupations for women? Amazing!
While it may not be widely talked about or celebrated, women have a rich history in the trades, and it’s only just beginning. We applaud the women who have forged paths for the women of today, and we invite you to #ChoosetoChallenge the notion that the building trades are best suited for men.
Want to learn more about a rewarding career in the trades? Find out how to get started.
It’s true that when you picture a construction site, you probably don’t picture a sea full of women. But just because it’s a traditionally male-dominated industry, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more and more women joining the skilled trades workforce, and for good reason!
What is it like to be a trades worker? First things first, in the construction trades, we work hard to make things that are real. When someone asks us what we do, we say, “I’m a sheet metal worker,” or “I’m an electrical worker.” We never have to say, “I’m an associate marketing coordinator reporting to the assistant vice president of sales.” We make bridges, stadiums, houses, roads, machines, things that are real, things that last.