Most In-Demand Trade Skills for 2021 and Beyond

Most In-Demand Trade Skills for 2021 and Beyond

Many businesses are scrambling to discover how to benefit from the recently passed infrastructure bill. But an ongoing shortage of skilled workers could stall progress toward that goal. Knowing the most-in demand trade skills for 2021 and beyond can help employers ramp up training to attract workers for upcoming infrastructure projects and supply contracts.

Below is a list of skilled trades that will have far more job openings than workers to fill them in as infrastructure projects ramp up.


Much of the country’s infrastructure relies on electric power. Somebody has to design, install, and maintain the wiring that sends electrical power to transportation, water, sewer, and power grid control centers and related construction projects.

Plumbers, Welders, and Pipefitters

Water and sewer systems are crumbling across the country and must be repaired or replaced entirely. But pipes carry more than water and waste: they also carry oil and gas, chemicals, and gases used in a variety of industrial applications.

Working on pipes and pipelines is more complicated than simply attaching one tube to another: welders must know how to create a safe environment for fusing pipes together, including selecting and using equipment to purge pipes of harmful or explosive gases before welding work begins.

Plumbers and pipefitters must select the right size and type of pipe to carry whatever liquid or gas will pass through them and ensure that the pipes have the right support, slope, or design feature that’ll ensure they safely carry their liquids, chemicals, or gases.

Clean Energy Workers

Wind turbines require specialized workers for assembly and maintenance. The same is true for solar panel installers. As concerns about climate change continue to intensify, so will the need for clean energy workers.

Truck Drivers

Everyone has heard about supply chain interruptions, but it’s not just ports that are backed up: long-haul drivers are quitting in droves. Infrastructure projects will need materials delivered to work sites on semi-tractor trailer trucks. Drivers are in high demand.

Heavy Equipment Operators

Cranes, excavators, forklifts, and bulldozers could all be present at infrastructure construction sites. Operating them requires specialized training and certification in safety protocols.


Building walls out of brick, concrete blocks, or stone requires knowledge of materials and methods that are fading with the retirements of experienced workers. Construction firms are flush with work but short on workers.

Community College Teachers

Community colleges are good sources for skilled trades training—but only if they can find and pay for qualified instructors. Many have had their funding cut and can’t afford to pay skilled tradespeople who retired from six-figure jobs to train the next generation of workers. They also can’t afford to provide up-to-date equipment for students to train with.

To fill their burgeoning vacant job positions, industrial, construction, and transportation companies must find ways to ramp up training programs and attract new workers. They can do this by marketing the benefits of learning a skilled trade.

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