Skilled Trade Jobs Are Booming in Pandemic Economy

PeopleReady Skilled Trades analysis finds strong growth in skilled trades over the past year and aims to connect people to in-demand work.

February 18, 2021

TACOMA, Wash.Feb. 18, 2021—While most job sectors have been hit hard by a pandemic-riddled economy and are seeing slow job growth or none at all, the skilled trades were booming across the nation during the past year. A recent analysis by the skilled trades division of PeopleReady found double- and even triple-digit growth in some skilled trades sectors. And the company is on a mission to connect people with these in-demand jobs. 

According to the PeopleReady Skilled Trades’ analysis, demand grew rapidly for many skilled trade jobs starting from the pandemic’s onset in March 2020 through January 2021, including drywall finishers (100%) and tile and stone setters (94%). Other skilled trade areas where job postings have soared during this same period include roofer helpers (24%), glaziers (19%), carpenters (16%), bricklayer helpers (16%), drywall installers (12%), and skilled construction workers (11%). Altogether, PeopleReady Skilled Trades found nearly 400,000 jobs posted in the sector since March 2020. 

“The skilled trades don’t just hold strong in an economic downturn—but they are among the rare sectors that continue to experience significant growth in an unpredictable job market,” said Jill Quinn, executive leader of PeopleReady Skilled Trades. “Our mission is to connect tradespeople and work. And, with such a high number of people looking for their next opportunity and so many skilled trades jobs available, this mission has never been more important.”

With construction season just around the corner, the company expects to see an even higher demand for tradespeople in the workforce. According to the analysis, skilled trades job postings have soared in the last 30 days. Those jobs seeing the most postings are: 

  • Drywall finishers (300% increase in last 30 days)
  • Tile and stone setters (79%)
  • Boilermakers (78%)
  • Cement masons and concrete finishers (70%)
  • Painters for construction and maintenance (69%)
  • Skilled construction workers (57%)
  • Steamfitters and pipefitter helpers (55%)

PeopleReady Skilled Trades works throughout the nation to connect customers and tradespeople across a variety of trades. To learn more, visit: skilled.peopleready.com.

About PeopleReady Skilled Trades

PeopleReady Skilled Trades is a specialized division of PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI). Since 1987, the division has connected tradespeople and work across a wide range of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, solar installations and more. Whether customers need a single tradesperson or require a coordinated effort to dispatch skilled trades workers across multiple projects, PeopleReady Skilled Trades ensures they have the right people with the right tools, on-site and on time. Learn more at skilled.peopleready.com.

Media Contact

David Irwin
Communications Director
dirwin@trueblue.com
630-453-1120

Building Better Mental Health in Construction

In an industry where mental health issues are particularly acute, construction businesses are under even more pressure to address the challenges of their workforce. Here are some tips on how they can do it.

February 5, 2021

In an industry where mental health issues are particularly acute, construction businesses are under even more pressure to address the challenges of their workforce during these unusual times. Not only are they concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re also worried about how to support themselves and their families. They have likely seen loved ones faced with job loss, illness, and even death. They may be wary about coming to work, fearing an increased risk of infection.

Many blue-collar workers pride themselves on being tough, which prevents them from acknowledging their mental health and seeking help. Seasonal unemployment, long hours and exhaustion can also trigger mental health issues. Depression and anxiety often go undiagnosed and untreated, making the construction industry one of the occupations most at risk for suicide.

The suicide rate has surged 40 percent in the U.S. over less than two decades, with blue-collar workers at a significantly higher risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC analyzed suicide rates by industry and occupational groups by gender using data from the 32 states that participated in the 2016 National Violent Death Reporting system.

  • In 2017, nearly 38,000 people between the ages of 16 and 64 died by suicide in the U.S., according to the CDC. The overall suicide rate rose by 40% from 2000.
  • The total suicide rate among all men was 27.4 individuals per 100,000 people, but the rate among those in the construction field was 49.4 per 100,000.
  • For women, the suicide rate for the total population studied was 7.7 per 100,000 individuals. The suicide rate for women in construction, however, was 25.5 per 100,000 individuals—the highest among any profession.

Construction workers are exposed to a number of risks by the nature of their job. Adding in outside health risks may lead to work-related injuries. A study published recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that six health risk behaviors were more common in the construction industry, which PeopleReady shares below.

  • Smoking
  • Smokeless tobacco use
  • Binge drinking
  • No leisure-time physical activity
  • Not always using a seatbelt
  • Getting less than seven hours of sleep a day

W-2 or 1099? 3 Steps to Help You Understand the Difference

Whether you’re adding gig work or freelancing with your “regular” work, finding jobs through a staffing agency, or just getting started on your taxes – it can be confusing to know which employment tax form to complete.

January 28, 2021
Two papers labeled W2 and 1099

Whether you’re adding gig work or freelancing with your “regular” work, finding jobs through a staffing agency, or just getting started on your taxes, it can be confusing to know which employment tax form to complete.

When comparing different forms, a common question asked is “Am I filling out the right one?” While your employer determines this when you first start working with them, it helps to know some of the key differences between a W-2 employee and a 1099-MISC worker.

The easiest differentiator between the two types of workers is whether taxes are withheld. Workers using a 1099-MISC form are considered self-employed independent contractors. Social Security and Medicare taxes are not withheld and 1099-MISC workers are required to pay their own taxes, the “self-employment” or “SE” tax.  W-2 employees have a percentage of each paycheck withheld by their employer and a portion of their employment taxes are paid for by the company. (For more information, consult the IRS and read more on their website.)

So what are other differences between 1099-MISC and W-2 employees? PeopleReady shares three key points to keep in mind.

Behavioral Control

Does your boss control what type of work you do, when, and how you do it? If yes, the company has behavioral control, most likely deeming you a W-2 worker. If you work through a staffing agency like PeopleReady, you could be a W-2 employee with the agency. 1099-MISC workers do not have a boss they must report to, but they are required to find their own jobs and clients, create their own contracts, and manage their tax deductions.

Financial Control

Financial control applies to how a worker is paid. In many W-2 scenarios, the employer decides when the worker is paid and for how much. A 1099-MISC independent contractor will define their payment through various contracts dependent on the project and clients they work with.

Relationship with Employer

Do you have set length of time you’ll work for the employer- maybe a few shifts or a set several weeks? Or is your time of employment indefinite, as there are no plans on you leaving? Each of these factors can help determine the type of relationship, whether you’re an employee or independent contractor. Working through a staffing agency can influence this: you may be a W-2 employee through the staffing agency, being connect to jobs for an outside customer or business. You may be a W-2 employee for the agency, since you will work with them for an indefinite period of time.  It’s always a good idea to double check with your recruiter or agency representative if you’re not sure of your employment type, or with a finance expert if you have questions about your tax situation.

Ready to make money doing the jobs you want, when you want? Here’s where to start

Infographic: 3 Tips to Rebound Your Workforce Post-COVID-19

We provide a few important tips to help your business navigate the world of work and come back stronger than before during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 21, 2021

Every company, in some way, has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now as businesses look to reopen their doors, it’s critical they take the steps outlined in this PeopleReady infographic into consideration. 

3 Tips to Rebound Your Workforce Post-COVID-19

Check out this PeopleReady infographic for three quick tips to rebound your workforce post-COVID-19.

January 4, 2021

Everyone has felt the effects of the pandemic—both personally and professionally. With a way out in sight, businesses will soon be looking to rebound their workforce while maintaining control and profitability.

Check out our infographic below for three quick tips from PeopleReady Skilled Trades to rebound your workforce post-COVID-19.

post-covid-19

6 Safety Questions to Ask on Every Job

Safety is our No. 1 priority at PeopleReady. Ask yourself these six questions before your first visit to the job site.

December 22, 2020
job safety

We get it. When it feels like you have a million things to do, safety isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind – particularly when you’re hustling to make it on time and doing the job well.

But imagine the frustration of having to miss work because of an injury. Sitting out of days, sometimes even weeks or months, of pay and on top of that, dealing with an injury. It’s not worth it! But the numbers aren’t comforting: The National Safety Council says that someone is injured on the job every seven seconds, adding up to 510 injuries each hour, 88,500 a week, and 12,600 every day.

Our goal is that when you’re on a job site with PeopleReady, you feel safe. Here are five crucial questions to ask yourself before heading out onto a job, every single time: 

1. Do I know the job?

When you’re sure of the job description and what your duties are, you can decide whether it’s a job you’re comfortable with and have the skills and proper training for. Make sure you know the details of a job before signing on.

2. Does the job look accurate?

If you show up to a job site and you’re being asked to do work that varies greatly from the description, call your branch representative about your safety concerns.

3. Am I geared up?

Don’t take your personal protective equipment (PPE) for granted; many injuries occur just because a worker isn’t wearing their PPE. And remember, PPE can be anything from steel-toed boots to a simple pair of protective glasses.

4. Do I feel safe?

If there is anything about your job site that doesn’t feel safe, do the right thing and let your supervisor and branch staff know. Respectfully informing them of any potential hazards not only protects you and your colleagues, but safeguards the business.

5. Have I reported this?

If you’re injured on the job, you need to tell the onsite supervisor and your branch representative. No matter how minor, your injury should be reviewed and taken care of. Sometimes what may seem like a small injury can turn into something much more serious. Feel free to contact the PeopleReady NurseLine to speak with a nurse about the injury and get help on what to do next. As they always say, better safe than sorry.

6. Am I up to date?

On safety training, that is. When you first start working with PeopleReady, you’ll go through a general safety assessment so we can understand how familiar you are with safety procedures and best practices. You can continue to grow your safety understanding and training with PeopleReady through various certifications, like OSHA 10, that provide you with the important safety info you need.

The top three workplace injuries that cause workers to lose workdays are overexertion, contact with or struck by objects/equipment, and slips, trips, and falls. Fortunately, these types of injuries can be prevented much of the time with a bit of foresight and awareness. We’re here to help with that.

5 Resume Tips That Job Seekers Should Know

Here are some tips to help you shine and overcome some resume obstacles—and prove to your future employer that you’re their ideal candidate.

November 7, 2020

Hand writing on paper

You may not have a lot of prior experience, or maybe there are gaps in your employment. Here are some tips to help you shine and overcome some resume obstacles—and prove to your future employer that you’re their ideal candidate.

Write Concisely

Regardless of your experience,  make sure your resume is easy to understand. Communicate well and make it readable, and don’t use wacky fonts or design styles. Be sure to use proper job titles. For example, using “Refuse Dispensing Engineer” or “Waste Management Professional” may make it confusing for the potential employer to understand. Be sure to format your resume correctly, align all of the columns and ensure it was written in an acceptable “resume style.” Clean and concise is best.

Use Proper Grammar

Any resume should be error-free. If you are not a great speller/writer, be sure to have another set of eyes proofread for spelling and grammatical errors. Even the best writers make mistakes. That’s why authors have editors.

Use Relevant Keywords

Be sure that you are including keywords that best fit your experience, beefing up your most recent positions. If you were a warehouse worker, be sure to add a sentence or two about some of the tasks that you performed. Employers will be looking for keywords that fit the jobs they have available and the more detailed your resume, the better your chances of landing an interview.

Focus on Skills 

What skills have you learned and gained from your past experiences that you can bring to a future employer? More important than titles, more important than the names of the companies where you worked in the past, are the skills you will bring with you.

Share Your Experiences

Some opportunities may not seem like a good fit at first, but be open to different levels of work. Be clear on what you can do, and what jobs you want going forward. This type of information can easily be added as your opening resume objective. Your experience in a different industry than the one you are applying for may apply nicely. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you may be new to the industry, but are confident in your ability to transfer your skills from previous experience.

Define Your Past Positions

Have you had a large reduction in responsibility? For example, were you previously a plant manager but in your most recent position, a retail sales clerk? Potential employers may wonder what happened. Just be prepared to explain why. Were you looking to try something new? Did you get laid off and needed to find something else rather quickly? Be upfront about topics that some employers may perceive as a concern.

Demonstrate Commitment

Employers want to see that you have stayed long enough at previous employers to add value, learn new skills, and build longevity and loyalty with the company. Too many job shifts in too short a time period may suggest that you won’t stick around for them either. Also: Are there gaps in your employment? Be prepared to have a conversation about this during an interview or simply note this in your resume. Employers want to hire those who are going to commit to their company.

You have unique talents and gifts that will be an asset to some lucky employer. Follow these tips, and let your resume rise above the rest. At PeopleReady, we understand the interview process can be intimidating, that’s why we take pride in helping our associates prepare for the next step in their career. 

Addressing the Workforce Shortage in the Construction Industry

Temporary craftspeople can help with new construction builds, clean-up and sanitizing efforts, maintenance tasks, and other valuable projects so that your business stays on track.

October 12, 2020
construction industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the construction industry and caused many businesses to reevaluate the way they conduct projects and how they manage their staff. New safety procedures were implemented on job sites, including proper social distancing and the increased use of personal protective equipment. During this unprecedented experience, businesses are constantly adapting to keep people healthy and projects moving forward.

Workforce Shortages Reaching a Critical Point

That may prove to be an even more daunting challenge given the workforce shortage that has plagued the construction industry for years. In July 2018, there were 7.2 million jobs in construction industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Through 2026, BLS projects faster-than-average employment growth. 

The pandemic has outlined just how valuable the construction industry is to the future of our country. But even now, workforce shortages remain one of the single greatest threats to its success. Eighty percent of contractors have trouble finding talent to fill the craft positions that represent the majority of the industry’s workforce, according to an industry-wide study the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America conducted with Autodesk.

Without a strong workforce, companies are unable to complete projects in a timely fashion. The U.S. has experienced a skilled-trades talent gap accelerated by retirement, staff turnover and a reduced focus on trade education in high school. About half of America’s skilled trade employees are approaching retirement age, according to the Manhattan Institute. And they aren’t being replaced quickly as they are leaving the field: An estimated 2.4 million jobs may be unfilled by 2028.

In a study performed by Marcum’s national Construction Services group:

  • 41% of pre-pandemic respondents chose “securing skilled labor” as the No. 1 threat to their businesses.
  • 67% of post-pandemic respondents projected either the same or higher backlogs.

Staffing Solutions for Your Construction Business

During the Great Recession of 2008–09, construction businesses often furloughed or laid off workers and eliminated apprenticeship programs that would have encouraged long-term careers in the industry. Many current or potential employees left the field and never returned.

Workforce shortages that make construction projects more costly and slower to build run the risk of undermining a business’s success. To combat these workforce shortages, construction businesses can leverage temporary craftspeople to supplement their critical workforce needs as they contemplate their long-term staffing strategy.

Using temporary craftspeople solves three of the most important initiatives for today’s construction businesses:

  1. Meeting deadlines: Especially in a time of unprecedented delays and disruptions, construction businesses that fail to act quickly can be at a disadvantage. Temporary craftspeople make it easy to scale your workforce and add talent on an as-needed basis to improve productivity and get projects done. If the craftsperson turns out to be a good fit, businesses may even consider hiring them on a permanent basis.
  2. Reducing stress: According to the ADP Workforce Vitality Index report, the construction industry has an average turnover rate of 58.4 percent. The main reason why employees leave? Feeling overworked. The problem has been compounded by COVID-19, which has heightened their concerns about health and wellbeing on the jobsite and at home. By supplementing your full-time workforce with temporary craftspeople, your business is better positioned to maintain a safe and healthy working environment while providing permanent crew members the extra help they need.
  3. Performing specialized tasks: In some cases, you may need additional support from those who have specific experience or expertise to complete projects. Temporary craftspeople can bring specialized skill sets that your full-time staff may not be able to provide. Hiring short-term employees who own the training or technical skills you need can fill important gaps in your workforce and help you capitalize on new opportunities.

Temporary craftspeople can help with new construction builds, clean-up and sanitizing efforts, maintenance tasks, and other valuable projects so that your business stays on track—providing some stability in a time of uncertainty.

Construction businesses can reduce the time and costs related to recruiting, screening and hiring new employees by partnering with a staffing agency. For convenient access to a skilled workforce ready to fill open positions and shifts quickly, contact PeopleReady Skilled Trades today.

3 Reasons You Want a Career in the Skilled Trades

Those with career and technical educations are even more likely to be employed than those with academic credentials. Let’s look at a few reasons why the skilled trades are a worthy career route.

January 15, 2020

It’s clear that there are benefits of continued education beyond high school: greater employability, increased average income… but what may be less apparent is that an advanced degree doesn’t always equate to a Bachelor’s or attending a 4-year college program. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reports that those with career and technical educations are even more likely to be employed than those with academic credentials. More and more, the opportunities in the skilled trades are being highlighted while more companies try and recruit new talent in joining the industry.

PeopleReady looks at a few reasons why the skilled trades are a worthy career route:

The demand is high.

With many of the Baby Boomer generation retiring out of their trades roles and more projects starting that require construction workers, welders, plumbers, electricians, and other specialists – the demand for skilled craftspeople is high. Now, 70 percent of construction companies throughout the nation are struggling to find the workforce they need. The U.S. Department of Education reports an expected 68 percent more job openings in infrastructure-related fields over the next five years and the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates one-third of new jobs will be in construction, health, and personal care. That’s a lot of jobs in the skilled trades that need skilled craftspeople. There are more jobs than workers in the medium-skill level, which isn’t the case for high-skill and low-skill work.

Source: National Skills Coalition

The pay is competitive.

For many areas in the skilled trades, tradespeople are likely to see a quick and strong return on investment. Consider the significant debt the majority of college graduates carry along with two additional years of schooling before getting to work; then compare to those pursuing a vo-tech or trade school degree who begin making money earlier, with less debt. The cost difference is noticeable.

Source: College Board Statistics

The jobs are important.

Concern over our country’s infrastructure has been mounting for years. And without skilled tradespeople to improve things, it will only get worse. Grant Will, a student of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, saw the benefits of the trades and says “We are the backbones of America, nothing starts without us, from the molds that make your car parts to the tools to make your clothes.” 

When asked why they chose the skilled trades, 52 percent of millennial electricians decided to enter the field for the technical involvement and problem-solving aspect, half state job security as a motivator, and another half see how jobs in the skilled trades help solve everyday challenges and make a difference in people’s lives. The work accomplished in the skilled trades industries isn’t just paramount in our nation’s growth and progress, it’s also giving people job satisfaction, flexibility, and a chance to live life out from behind a desk.

Interested in exploring the skilled trades? Or are you a skilled trades professional ready to find opportunities that meet your potential?

Connect with your local PeopleReady branch representative about potential opportunities and how to get started in the right direction.

Are You Blue-Collar Material?

We will always need tradespeople who add the human touch to the everyday, and in so doing leave a little of themselves in their work. Learn more about working in the skilled trades.

October 8, 2019
Signage for the Rose Bowl

Here’s a label you won’t find on a product: “Proudly made by robots.” No matter how well a machine makes something, we place more value on things made by hand because we can connect with and appreciate the skill it took to make them.

It’s a persistent affirmation for a species built to work. We desire work that provides a path to master our individual talents and contribute to something meaningful along the way. For many, that means working under the open sky or outside the confines of an office, tools in hand, solving problems with sweat and skill, doing work that blends the edge of craftsmanship with art.

While not everyone is blue-collar material, many who choose college over the trades, hoping it will open a door to a financially rewarding career, incorrectly assume that skilled trades careers don’t pay as well. While many college degrees certainly provide good pay, many do not bring the equally rich reward that comes from working with your hands.

The college myth is contributing to an acute shortage of skilled trades workers. Skilled trades pros are retiring in numbers larger than the number of younger workers joining the trades to replace them. That growing shortage could mean 3 million skilled trades jobs go unfilled by 2028.

For these reasons, PeopleReady Skilled Trades is proud to be part of Generation T, a movement rekindling career interest in the skilled trades by exposing young workers to the benefits of blue-collar careers. PeopleReady Skilled Trades pros were on hand at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, where 300 high school students picked up tools to build bunk beds for orphans. And at Milford High School near Boston, Massachusetts, where more than 100 high school students built dog houses for a local animal shelter.

Those experiences are as rewarding for the PeopleReady Skilled Trades team as they are for the high school kids. Many of our pros have decades of experience in the trades and work with highly skilled craftspeople every day. But they rarely have the opportunity to see that spark in the eyes of a young worker who picks up a tool for the first time and builds something with his or her hands.

It’s an important moment that occurs in the trades but is largely absent in a corporate or office environment. Passing a trade from one generation to the next is a tradition as old as civilization. For those outside the trades, it’s easy to underappreciate how a master stonemason deftly twists a fiddle string knot onto a nail to tighten a string line, or how a journeyman carpenter quickly and accurately lays out a stair stringer with a framing square. Making it look easy takes skill and years of practice, but it starts with someone showing you how.

When a pro retires today, a lifetime of skills go with that pro—skills that are lost if not passed on to younger people in the trades. And while automation and the evolution of tools help us work more efficiently, we will always need tradespeople who are masters of those tools—those skilled pros who add the human touch to the everyday, and in so doing leave a little of themselves in their work, connecting each of us with their skill.

PeopleReady specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of blue-collar industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, waste and recycling, and hospitality. Leveraging its game-changing JobStack platform and 600-plus branch offices across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, PeopleReady served approximately 98,000 businesses and put more than 490,000 people to work in 2020.