When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the labor markets were greatly disrupted globally1. Jobs were decreased, businesses had to learn how to operate differently, and workers may have had to change career paths2. Total civilian employment dropped by 8.8 million over 2020 as COVID-19 brought economic expansion to a halt3. Because of this, the job hunt in the midst of the pandemic was challenging.
A trend seen since the start of the virus is the decrease in the interest of 4-year education by high schoolers. The rate has plummeted from 71% to 48%, with the new interest being in skilled trades. Trades have also been looked at more closely as labor shortages appear. It's thought that students are looking at both money and time when considering a career, which seems to put trades at an advantage4.
Before the start of the pandemic, 11% of Americans (ages 18-24) surveyed said that they thought that training in trades led to high-paying jobs. However, after the pandemic began, that number increased, resulting in 30% of Americans vouching for trade school. Why is that? Americans saw labor shortages in the trade fields, as well as lower debt and shorter time needed to train4.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the use and adaptation of technology in trades has also increased. 42% of skilled tradespeople adopted new digital tools for planning and 47% implemented solutions for digital payments. Some may think that using technology with a hands-on career can defeat the purpose of the job. However, these technological adaptations can reduce friction in the transaction process and free up time that can be used for more productive work - like the hands-on things5.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed life as we know it. Between jobs, medical safety, education, and more, new implementations have had to be put in place for the safety of us and others. However, these new changes have been able to open doors. To learn more about how PCI has responded to education and the pandemic, read the COVID-19 message from the president and CEO, Jim Bologa. If you're interested in getting started in one of the programs, visit the online application portal to apply.