Gen Z interest in trades and skilled work has dropped.
The application rate for young people seeking technical jobs, such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, dropped to 49% in 2022 compared to 2020, according to data from online recruiting platform Handshake.
Researchers from Handshake tracked how the number of applications for technical roles vs. the number of job postings has changed over the last two years.
While postings for those roles saw on average 10 applications each in 2020, they received just about 5 per posing in 2022.
A typical rate is about 19 applications per job on Handshake.
While the creation of technical positions has continued to grow, the number of students interested in applying for them, has not. Occupations, such as auto technicians and carpentry with aging workforces, have the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warning of a “massive” shortage of skilled workers in 2023.
The cultural disparaging of trade jobs that could be seen over the last few decades has apparently caught up with the country’s workforce and labor demand. For a long time, U.S. culture has not talked favorably about skilled trades and instead encouraged students to all go to a four year college, graduate and go into white collar jobs and fear the possibility of becoming a tradesman.