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Ways to Boost Interest in Working in Unglamorous Industries

It’s no secret that the global workforce is currently facing a labour shortage. With baby boomers retiring en masse, it has come to light that many industries were unprepared for how they were going to fill jobs despite declining fertility rates. 

The industries hit the hardest by this trend are the trades and other unglamorous industries. Not only are they being impacted by the shortage in labour, but often, the labour they perform requires skills and training, and this can be hard to come by. In addition, many people hold misconceptions in regard to unglamorous industries that are stopping them from considering these highly rewarding careers. 

Misconceptions 

According to the 2022 Inaugural Makers Index by Stanley Black & Decker, one of the major reasons for young people choosing not to follow a career in the trades is due to lack of education. More specifically, the four major pillars of misconception are financial, growth and satisfaction, skills and knowledge, and accessibility and inclusivity. 

Many believe that unglamorous industries do not pay well, when in fact the opposite is true, that they will not be happy in this type of career, and that the skills and knowledge base required for these kinds of jobs are beyond them. There was also an overwhelming consensus, at least among trades careers, that while the trades are a good career option, it just wasn’t a good career option for those surveyed. But if everyone holds this opinion, then who are the trades and other unglamorous industries for?

Reality

Right now, there is a huge emphasis on working in technology. Silicon Valley has done a tremendous job of making their careers look of high value. As a result, many people are leaning towards those kinds of high-profile careers, if they’re interested in STEM at all. 

What many young people don’t know, is that when they work in the trades or other unglamorous industries, they are more likely to build wealth, work with cutting-edge technology, and find financial stability and entrepreneurial opportunities. 

You can still be an entrepreneur and disruptor, leveraging the latest technology to make a difference in the world without having to navigate the world of tech startups. Since these jobs are in such high demand and are considered societally necessary, those in unglamorous industries are less likely to face the insecurity and instability faced by other industries. 

Actionable Steps 

So, how can unglamorous industries entice people into following the career paths that they offer? The best way to do this is through educating people on what the trades and other unglamorous industries entail. What kind of work do you actually do, and is it actually as labour-intensive as it seems? 

Working with schools and other educational institutions from a young age will help curb any stereotypes that people may develop as they get older. Ensuring that all presentations are age-appropriate, introducing people to opportunities beyond just university is a great way to ensure that people understand the benefits of working in your industry.

Conducting workshops with students and parents at career, university and college fairs is a great way to showcase what the industry has to offer. Show off the cutting-edge technology that you work with and allow people to try it. It’s also important to have a strong online presence, showing the day to day of the job and how much more rewarding it can be than how people perceive it. Through this, you can highlight success stories, being sure to emphasize diversity, so everyone feels represented within your chosen discipline. 

Within your organization, it’s also important to ensure that you are thinking long term. That the opportunities to learn and grow that were promised are actually present, and that there is a larger emphasis on training and opportunity for career advancement within your organization. This will give employees a greater sense of purpose and will help them understand how their work impacts and improves the lives of those in their community. When workers feel valued, they are more likely to champion your cause to future workers. 

Lauren Schwartz | Staff Writer

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