Emerging Trade Jobs: Industries on the Rise and In-Demand Skills

Jun 6, 2023

As technology continues to advance and the job market evolves, it’s important to take a look at the emerging industries and specializations within the trade job sector. From renewable energy to e-commerce logistics, there are numerous industries on the rise that require a specialized set of skills. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends, students can position themselves to take advantage of the growing demand. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most in-demand trade jobs, the industries they’re connected to, and the skills that will be necessary for success in these fields.

The State of Trade Jobs Today

Trade jobs, also known as skilled trades, have long been considered a backbone of the economy. These jobs, which include roles like electricians, plumbers, and carpenters, involve hands-on work that is essential to constructing buildings, repairing machinery, and providing a range of other vital services. However, in recent years, there has been a decline in the number of young people entering the skilled trades, leading to a shortage of workers in these fields.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median age of electricians in 2022 was 40.8. This trend is echoed in other skilled trades, including plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). The shortage of young workers in these fields is concerning because as the older generation of skilled workers retires, there will not be enough new talent to fill the void.

Another challenge facing trade jobs today is the negative stigma often attached to these careers. Many young people are encouraged to pursue college degrees, and trades are often seen as a less glamorous or desirable option. However, this attitude ignores the fact that trade jobs often provide stable and well-paying careers, with salaries comparable to those earned by college graduates.

Despite these challenges, there is hope for the future of trade jobs. New industries, such as renewable energy and smart technology, are creating a demand for skilled workers with specialized training. In addition, advancements in technology and equipment are making the work of tradespeople safer and more efficient. As these changes continue, trade jobs will remain an essential part of the economy, offering opportunities for those willing to learn the skills necessary to succeed.

Emerging Industries in Trade

Trade jobs have expanded beyond the traditional construction and manufacturing sectors. Emerging industries, such as renewable energy, technology, and healthcare, require specialized skills and training. The renewable energy sector is one of the fastest-growing industries, providing job opportunities for electricians and technicians to install solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems. As technology advances, skilled trade jobs in automation and robotics have increased in demand. This industry requires individuals with expertise in programming, engineering, and maintenance.

Moreover, healthcare trade jobs are also in high demand. As the population ages, there is a growing need for specialized trades, such as medical equipment technicians, biomedical engineers, and healthcare construction workers. In addition, the infrastructure industry, such as highways and bridges, remains a vital component of the economy, creating employment opportunities for skilled trades.

As the trade industries continue to grow, the need for specialization increases. The manufacturing industry, for example, now requires workers with advanced skills in computer-aided design (CAD) and other specialized areas. In-demand trades include plumbers, electricians, carpenters, welders, and HVAC technicians, who all require training and certification.

To prepare for emerging trade industries, individuals must develop the skills required to meet future demands. Apprenticeship programs, trade schools, and certification programs are essential in preparing for these new and expanding industries. Overall, the future of trade jobs is exciting, and individuals with the necessary skills and expertise will have the opportunity for career advancement and a rewarding future.

In-Demand Specializations

Trade jobs are no longer just about traditional careers in construction or mechanics. With the rapid pace of technological advancements and shifts in consumer behavior, new industries are emerging, creating opportunities for specialization in areas such as cybersecurity, renewable energy, and e-commerce logistics. 

As e-commerce continues to grow, the demand for professionals skilled in logistics and supply chain management is also increasing. Specializations such as freight broker or logistics analyst are becoming popular, offering lucrative salaries and career growth potential.

With the rise in cyber threats, companies are also looking for cybersecurity professionals to protect their assets. This specialization includes roles such as ethical hackers and cybersecurity analysts.

Renewable energy is another growing industry that requires skilled professionals. Solar photovoltaic installers, wind turbine technicians, and battery storage specialists are in demand. As more governments and corporations pledge to become carbon neutral, the demand for renewable energy specialists will continue to grow.

In addition to these emerging specializations, traditional trades such as plumbing and electrical work are also in demand. As the population ages, there is a growing need for specialists in retrofitting homes to be more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.

Benefits and Advancements in the Field

The future of trade jobs looks bright, with numerous benefits and advancements in the field. With a growing emphasis on green technologies and sustainability, trade professionals can expect to work on innovative projects that help to protect the environment. Moreover, the demand for trade jobs is set to rise due to an aging workforce. For example, the solar photovoltaic installers occupation is projected to add 11,800 new jobs, an increase of 104.9 percent, by 2026.

Advancements in technology are also driving changes in trade industries. New tools, materials, and techniques are being developed that allow trade professionals to work more efficiently and safely. For example, advancements in 3D printing technology allow for the production of custom parts on-site, reducing the need for expensive outsourcing. Additionally, the use of drones and other remote technologies have improved safety for trade professionals by reducing the need for dangerous work at heights.

Trade jobs offer a clear career path with room for advancement and entrepreneurship. Tradespeople can become managers or start their own businesses, providing a pathway to financial stability and success. Moreover, trade jobs often come with job security and stability as tradespeople are always in demand.

Challenges and Opportunities for Future Growth

While we expect the trade industry to grow over the next decade, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of the biggest challenges is the aging workforce. Many skilled trade workers are retiring, leaving a gap that needs to be filled. Another challenge is the lack of awareness about trade jobs and the benefits they offer.

However, there are also opportunities for future growth in the trade industry. One such opportunity is the increasing demand for renewable energy. This has led to a growing need for skilled workers in fields such as solar installation and wind turbine maintenance. Additionally, as technology advances, new trades are emerging that require specialized skills, such as 3D printing and robotics.

To address these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities, it is essential that the trade industry continue to innovate and adapt. This means investing in education and training programs to attract and retain younger workers, as well as providing ongoing professional development to keep up with technological advancements.

Furthermore, increasing awareness of trade jobs as viable career options can also help to attract a more diverse workforce, including women and minorities, like the Building Union Diversity program in St. Louis, MO. By doing so, the trade industry can benefit from a wider pool of talent and ideas.

Overall, while there are challenges facing the trade industry, there are also exciting opportunities for future growth and development. With a focus on innovation, education, and diversity, the industry can continue to thrive in the years to come.

Skills and Education Required for Success

In order to thrive in emerging trade industries, it’s essential to have the right skills and education. Technical expertise is highly valued, and employers look for candidates who have experience working with advanced technology. Additionally, trade workers need strong problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, and effective communication skills to succeed in this rapidly-evolving field.

Education is key for developing these competencies, and trade programs and apprenticeships are a great place to start. These training opportunities provide students with the hands-on experience necessary to become skilled trade professionals, and they offer the chance to learn from industry experts who can share valuable insights and expertise.

Furthermore, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on emerging trends in the trade industry. This can be done by regularly attending trade shows, networking with other professionals, and taking courses that focus on new technologies or best practices.

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