The Industries You Aren’t Considering

Everyone has been touched in some way by both the recession and the slow economic recovery. The emotional toll has been damaging enough. Scarred by layoffs, job displacement, and long periods of unemployment, talented job seekers are taking any position that comes along and living in constant fear for their own security. Blinded by bad news, the average person rarely considers what a downturn means to the future of specific job sectors and affiliated opportunities.



Take construction, which dropped 75 percent in sales in 2006, according to the National Association of Home Builders. When the industry collapsed, it not only took the skilled laborers in both residential and commercial sectors with it, but also the manufacturers who produced the goods they install. Unemployment skyrocketed from 6.7 to over 20 percent, leaving downsized professionals with no other choice but to find new work opportunities and leverage their transferable skills in order to gain access to new fields.

Let’s fast-forward to the good part. As construction picked up, the skills shortage has affected the industry and, consequently, the economy in immeasurable ways. There hasn’t been enough talent returning to construction and by the end of 2012, 30 percent of builders rated the lack of labor as a major problem – a statistic that rose drastically (to 53 percent) by the end of 2013, posing a serious issue for 2014. And to throw more salt into the wound, fewer millennials are choosing this occupational choice, despite the fact that the average wage is 22.5 percent higher than the national medium. If you’re asking yourself, where’s the good part, then you’re not reading between the lines. Let me break it down for you: the terms “industry pick-up” and “skilled workers in demand” should signal your brain to think, jobs, jobs, jobs!

Other great areas for opportunity that the middle class should be taking advantage of are framing and carpentry, fields that have been especially hard-hit. In reality, however, I hear complaints about lack of workers from all the skilled trades. It begs the question – why are so many youngsters, who are just starting out in their careers, willingly investing six figures for a degree without taking the time to consider job sectors that are croaking for reliable people. And people in related fields looking to transition or coming off of job loss – why aren’t they thinking outside the box? People are complaining that there are no jobs available, but they aren’t looking in the right places.

I recently interviewed a local housing roofer who told me that although he only works for one builder, it’s more than enough to keep him busy full-time. Pressed to find skilled laborers, other builders are begging him to reconsider their offers. Being in an industry where the supply of workers is far less than the demand puts him at a great advantage and allows him to pick and choose his work. He calls all the shots when it comes to his career versus the average American who places his future in the hands of others. His expectations are high, and he doesn’t wait to get paid. People, that’s as close as you can get to job security.

Here’s my point: if you have a natural talent or passion for a certain field in demand, why not try it out before dumping time, energy, and money into a dying field? There are so many paths to greatness, and it’s in your best interest to stop believing the old lie that tells us there’s only one.

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