Since the start of the pandemic, demand for home improvement and construction services has been on a steady rise. As lockdowns confined people to their homes, they naturally turned to projects that directly impacted their quality of life.
And so, you had a home improvement boom; Brits alone spent £110 billion on home improvements, with common projects ranging from home renovations to outhouses and home gyms.
However, the increase in building projects has also led to a labour shortage, exacerbating the construction worker crunch that was simmering long before the onset of the pandemic. According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Britain’s construction industry will have to hire 217,000 more workers to keep up with output, which is on track to recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
On the flip side, it’s happy days for skilled tradespeople. According to a report by B2C platform Angi, 83% of tradespeople said they were satisfied with their choice of work. And why wouldn’t they be when work is everywhere, and they’re in a position to demand more pay?
In other words, now is the perfect time to consider a career in the skilled trades. We look at a few of your best options based on the latest data.
1. Wood Trades
Cabinet makers, wood machinists, woodturners, and furniture makers are among the top trades over the next few years, with CITB estimating annual average recruitment (ARR) of 5,500 in Britain. These professionals are responsible for building a wide range of high-quality wood products, ranging from picture frames, floors, and cabinetry. Skilled woodworkers are highly sought after in home construction and manufacturing, although they can also be in demand in retail and niche industrial sectors.
Electricians are among the most sought-after trades workers in the UK. According to a 2019 study by the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) and National Electrotechnical Training (NET), the country is expected to need an additional 15,000 electricians by 2024.
3. Pipefitters, Steamfitters, and Plumbers
While employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to increase by only 5% from 2020 to 2030 (lower than the average for all occupations), the BLS notes aspiring professionals in the US can expect an average of 51,000 job openings each year until the end of the decade. Most of this growth will be driven by high numbers of workers moving to different occupations or hitting retirement age.
4. Metal Workers
Although metal workers play a critical role in propping up the UK manufacturing sector, the industry is experiencing a skill shortage crisis and low recruitment levels. According to a study by FEIN, 76% of current metal workers believe the number of young professionals joining the sector has been steadily declining over the years. Nearly half said the manufacturing industry would face a crisis if it does not solve this skills shortage, whether by embarking on a domestic training push or loosening migrant visa restrictions.
5. Carpenters and Joiners
According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), vacancies for carpenters and joiners saw a sharp increase in August and September, creating bottlenecks in construction projects across Britain.