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April 8, 2015

As baby boomers move toward retirement, many labor experts wonder who’s going to replace them—especially in skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers and masons.  In fact, the U.S. may have as many as 3.5 million image of millenialsmanufacturing jobs over the next decade, with only 2 million workers with the right skills to fill them, according to a recent study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute.

The answer to the problem could be millennials, whose members now range from their teens to early 30s. For many of this generation who’ve had trouble starting careers in the tough economy of recent years or who aren’t interested in traditional college courses, the timing could be perfect.


Job Average annual pay (2013) Projected job growth 2012-2022
Brick mason $50,700 34%
Carpenter $44,980 24%
Electrician $53,560 20%
Glazier $42,560 17%
Heating and air conditioning mechanic $46,110 21%
Industrial machinery mechanic $49,560 17%
Plumber, pipefitter, steamfitter $53,820 21%
Tile setter $43,010 15%
All occupations $46,440 11%

[Credit] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  

There are several options for training for the trades, including vocational schools and apprenticeship programs. Community colleges offer courses in many of the most in-demand trades, often in collaboration with local employers eager to hire their graduates.

In addition to a growing demand for trained workers, skilled trades often pay salaries that are substantially higher than the national average for all occupations.   —Greg Daugherty

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