We hear from our clients all the time that skilled laborers are in high demand. Companies in Minnesota and beyond have had difficulty finding enough skilled laborers to fill their positions, positions that will be in high demand for at least the next decade.
While companies are struggling to staff for skilled laborers, a powerful statistic may reveal part of the reason why. While 51 percent of the population is women, only 3 percent of people working in the skilled trades are women. We see this first-hand in the applications we receive and the staffing we do for our industrial clients.
Encouraging more women to enter the skilled trades is a win-win for employers and job seekers. Encouraging more people, in general, to learn a trade boosts the available talent pool. Hiring more women and increasing workforce diversity helps bring a variety of different strengths and viewpoints to the company. Working in skilled trades offers women a steady career with strong wages and development opportunities.
Here are three steps we’ve seen Twin Cities businesses take to encourage more women to join their workforce.
Design a pre-apprenticeship program
A major reason why women aren’t taking skilled labor positions is because they aren’t being trained to do so. Many women simply aren’t introduced to careers in electrical, welding, HVAC and construction. A pre-apprenticeship can help to make that introduction.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a pre-apprenticeship is a program or set of services designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship program. These are designed to be starting points for underrepresented workers to help prepare them for a successful career. It can help you to identify candidates for the apprenticeship program, and eventually a full-time job.
Promote job security
It takes commitment to learn a trade. Let women know that their training will be worthwhile by promoting the job security in skilled trades. The high demand for skilled workers means that knowledgeable employees will be in-demand for years to come.
Many trade jobs are union jobs, which offers additional workplace protections. Union workers are less likely to experience the pay gaps they might in other industries. Some skilled trades boast equal pay. Even in those that don’t, women still earn a whopping 91 to 96 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts earn on other trades, compared to the average 81 cents per dollar. It’s important to strive for parity, and skilled trades are leading the way.
Partner with an organization
There are plenty of other organizations who share your interest in encouraging more women to enter skilled trades. Labor unions, federal/local/state government and nonprofit organizations are all eager to diversify the workforce. Find out if there are local organizations you can partner with on marketing efforts. For example, the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction has excellent resources and events.
Hiring more women in skilled trades is good for the economy and good for your business. To learn more about how you can find the best-skilled trade employees for your Minnesota business, contact Award Staffing today.