Skilled Trades Labor Scarcity: Workforce Aging as Fewer Recruits Enter Trades

New PeopleReady Skilled Trades analysis highlights worker scarcity in the skilled trades and identifies top jobs open today

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TACOMA, Wash.— July 19, 2022—The skilled trades industry is proving to be one of the hardest hit by worker scarcity. According to a new analysis by PeopleReady Skilled Trades, a specialized division of staffing giant PeopleReady, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a skilled labor shortage that companies are still struggling with today.

In the period from March 2020 to December 2021, four million jobs were open in key skilled trades industries like construction—more than double the amount of vacancies pre-pandemic.

Based on PeopleReady Skilled Trades’ analysis of thousands of currently open positions within the skilled trades industry, jobs with the most openings right now include:

  • Cement masons and concrete finishers
  • Painters
  • Roofers
  • Electricians
  • First-line supervisors

As workers continue to age out of the skilled trades, fewer people enter the field. The data analyzed by PeopleReady Skilled Trades shows that 40% of the 12 million people in the skilled trades workforce are over the age of 45, with nearly half of those workers over the age of 55, and less than 9% of workers aged 19-24 entering the trades.

“With so few young workers joining the skilled trades, there is real imperative for employers to develop programs that will attract new talent, while investing in and retaining their existing workforce,” said Jill Quinn, executive leader of PeopleReady Skilled Trades. “With thousands of openings in the skilled trades today, employers who find innovative ways to instill a sense of belonging and pride within their workforce and the skilled trades as a whole will have a competitive advantage for the future.”

To foster a sense of pride within professionals in the skilled trades, PeopleReady Skilled Trades has announced a new Respect the Craft™ loyalty program. The Respect the Craft program is a way for tradespeople to earn incentives and rewards while being celebrated and recognized for their dedication to careers that are critically important.

As part of the Respect the Craft program, tradespeople at PeopleReady Skilled Trades can earn up to $1,500 in cash and prizes. Plus, they have the chance to be named Tradesperson of the Year—a coveted title that comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

Interested in learning more? Visit skilled.peopleready.com/respect.

From helper and apprentice to master-level opportunities across a variety of trades, PeopleReady Skilled Trades connects tradespeople with work throughout the U.S. Find and apply for jobs at skilled.peopleready.com/jobs.

About PeopleReady Skilled Trades

PeopleReady Skilled Trades is a specialized division of PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI). Since 1987, this specialized 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 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.


PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company, 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 94,000 businesses and put approximately 220,000 people to work in 2021.