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Skilled trades shortage means big opportunities for women


What do welding, HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance, and electrical work have in common? They’re all occupations that have high demand predicted for the next eight years, excellent earning potential, and represent opportunities for women seeking valuable, interesting careers.

Due to the projected needs for these skills, learning a skilled trade could be a smart idea: besides offering useful, marketable skills, welding, HVAC, and electrical work could be appealing for women looking for fulfilling, non-traditional careers and opportunities for advancement, including leadership and management positions.

High demand & pay

It’s a perfect time for women to consider joining the ranks of the skilled trades. As shown in this information Tulsa Welding School composed, the employment outlook for some popular trades is excellent:

  • A predicted shortage of 400,000 welding operators by 2024.
  • A projected 14 percent demand for HVAC installers and electricians by 2024.
  • A high potential for entrepreneurship: 17.5 percent of people in construction are self-employed, the second highest of major industries.

Tradeswoman career paths can also offer higher average wages versus traditional roles for women: $38,070 for a bookkeeper versus $54,520 for an electrician, for instance.

Quick, accessible training

Training for these industries may be more affordable and take less time than a bachelor’s degree. You may be out working within a year, which typically means less debt and a head start on earning potential compared to students on a four- or five-year degree plan.

Several grant programs might also help keep your school costs low. Women of all ages are encouraged to seek these careers, from young people ready to jump in with both feet into the workforce to those wanting a satisfying mid-career change.

Networking & support

Once working in these fields, women may encounter a variety of networking organizations offering support and encouragement for fellow females, including the members of the National Association of Professional Women in Construction. Since women make up only 8.9 of the construction industry, every contact helps.

Room for growth in representation

There is also room for women’s representation to grow in these industries; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 4.8 percent of welders, and 2.4 percent of electricians. Plus, with women’s declining labor force participation—57 percent in 2014 versus 60 percent in 1999—the high demand for qualified labor in the skilled trades could help send more women back to work.

Skilled trades shortage means big opportunities for women


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