How Can Companies Attract the Younger Generation of High Performers to the Skilled Trades?

April 5, 2023
Greg Crumpton

Many from the newer generations find the skilled trades industry old school. However, there is a significant shortage in the industry, and it is surrounded by stigmas. This, coupled with the fact that baby boomers, who hold a sizable majority of the positions, are retiring, has caused a massive decline in the number of skilled tradespeople.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry as a whole is expected to grow 10 percent by 2028, and more than 3 million skilled trades jobs will remain open by then. The main question now is: How do we get people back into the industry, and what is the role of the recruitment industry in this?

Who best can answer this question if not Blake Howe, a recruiter, headhunter, and skilled trades advocate with NIT Building Solutions, who joined as a guest on Straight Outta Crumpton with host, Greg Crumpton, and MarketScale Communications Coordinator, Gabrielle Bar, to discuss promoting the skilled trades industry to the incoming generation and how he hunts and attracts high performers for any industry.

“NIT specializes in the mechanical and technical field, and that’s mainly on the contractor side and the engineering companies that support our industry. We work in all facets of the industry in terms of candidates; we don’t specialize in one or the other. We kind of do have the attitude to where someone has the right motivation, career, goal, and experience, we are going to work with them. Our philosophy is focused on the right performance attribute,” Howe described.

Bar, Crumpton, and Howe touched on a variety of topics…

● What NIT sees in its applicants—their motivation and what’s driving them

● Employee retention and keeping interview promises

● How Howe attracts and goes after high performers who are already excelling

● The future of the recruitment industry

“It’s challenging to get a hold of high performers,” Howe said. “I think it starts with trying to figure out how the best people look for work and what will be attractive to them.“ Crumpton asked Howe about what motivates applicants to apply for a job. He said, “For the candidate side, it’s their openness to making a change, almost having nothing to do about money. They are not money-driven; it’s more about job satisfaction, mental stimulation, challenges, and growth potential. For the company side, it’s about paying attention to what the candidates needs are and helping them grow.”

Howe provided his thoughts about how to get the younger generations into the trades industry: “I encourage the younger generation to get into the trades—men and women—we need to get the word out to the kids in high school that there is an option here. We will be very busy in the next few years.”

Blake Howe’s parents owned a licensed general construction and electrical contracting company. He spent most summers and teenage years nailing boxes, running flex, pulling wire, and miraculously finding material in the truck. He worked for a union electrical contractor during college as a project engineer and assistant estimator. Now, he is recruiting candidates for the HVAC, refrigeration, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing fields.

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