As the recruiting experts for the residential service industry, we are often asked what we see for the future of trades. Our predictions for 2023 are based on historical trends and recent macroeconomic environment developments.
First and foremost, we do not see any dramatic changes for next year. There has been a shortage of skilled trades for a decade or more and we see that continuing. In the last 3 to 4 years, we have seen the trend of “growing your own” technicians through apprenticeships expanding in an effort to combat this. We see this trend not only continuing but increasing. All across the US, this has proven to be a successful strategy for many of our customers. We see apprenticeship academies, universities, or whatever you want to call them, as a long-term solution to the considerable skilled trades shortage. These programs are successful for many reasons, but one of the largest is that they allow a company to hire for attitude if candidates have the mechanical aptitude. Growing your own is a popular method of building a workforce, and we have seen graduates go through a program in a matter of months and be out in a truck producing.
The skilled trades shortage, coupled with more home service companies forming during the pandemic, show a continuing ultra-competitive environment for technicians. Due to this, we see fewer techs out job hunting and fewer techs active overall on Indeed. However, more than ever before, we see many more active on social media platforms. In our estimation, this trend will continue for the foreseeable future of trades. Technicians continue to build their audience by showing their work on platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn. In addition, they appreciate the value of sharing ideas on Reddit. We love seeing this trend and expect it to increase exponentially over the next several years. Internally we will be using these platforms for recruiting technician and administrative roles.
While the height of COVID saw the most movement of relocation across the nation, we still see lots of activity in pockets of the country. We are noticing technicians and managers willing to relocate, especially if assistance is offered. Trends we are following are Californians moving to Texas and Idaho and those living in the northeast moving south to North Carolina and Florida as well as Tennessee. We will be tracking this through the new year and expect to see more movement to other areas of the country. No surprise, the big winners here will be those that can provide less expensive housing along with lower crime rates and good schools. From our ears to the ground, we see climate and cold weather as less of a concern than the alignment of political views and affordable living.
Even with the great demand for experienced technicians, we are noticing signing bonuses decreasing as a way to attract talent. More often than not, our clients are honing in on the differences they can make culturally to attract and retain a great talent pool. A flexible schedule and no on-call or emergency work will continue to be successful incentive trends into the foreseeable future.
Because of macroeconomic factors (i.e., wage inflation), office staff—such as CSRs and Dispatchers—are still hard to fill roles. Additionally, we expect wages to go up further for these positions as companies try to compete with big box stores and remote work opportunities. However, this should level off—hopefully—by the end of 2023 into 2024, when a likely recession will be in full effect.
With the recession-resistant nature of the residential service space, we do not predict any large-scale recessionary effects on the industry and feel our clients are poised for continued growth. Regarding recruiting specifically, we do not see our clients slowing down their hiring needs or showing signs of worrying about a recession. Demand and competition for workers in the office and the field will remain strong, and as a data-driven company, we will be monitoring these changes closely.