Why Skilled Trades Workers Report High Job Satisfaction

Amid rising university costs and student concerns about campus protests, increasing numbers of young adults and parents are reconsidering the traditional four-year college route. At present, the labor market is witnessing a noticeable pivot towards skilled trades, especially among Generation Z. Angela Hicks, the co-founder of Angi (previously known as Angie’s List), shared her insights during a telephone interview. Founded in 1995 after a challenge to find reliable tradespeople in Columbus, Ohio, Angi emerged as a dual-marketplace connecting consumers with skilled professionals.

Hicks expressed a strong positive outlook on skilled trades, highlighting the advantages of entering the workforce sooner with minimal debt. She noted that trade jobs not only provide lucrative pay and growth opportunities but also offer benefits and pensions through unions. These roles allow individuals to become entrepreneurs and pursue careers closely aligned with their passions and skills, avoiding the compromise often faced by college graduates who end up in unrelated fields.

A recent Angi study released on Tuesday has indicated increased job satisfaction among trade workers since the pandemic began. The "Skilled Trades in America Report" also examines the impact of AI, ongoing labor shortages, and strategies to draw new talent into trades. Hicks emphasized the rewarding nature of these careers, which are crucial to the U.S. economy and infrastructure, urging continued education for job seekers about the trades' potential.

According to the report, a whopping 90% of skilled tradespeople report high job satisfaction, attributing this to meaningful work, good compensation, and flexible schedules. While other sectors worry about AI's rise, 65% of tradespeople view their jobs as secure from AI threats, with only 11% expressing concerns about potential AI job displacement.

There's a pronounced labor shortage in the trades, with 40% of employers unable to find suitable staff for open positions. About two-thirds believe they could expand their businesses if they could hire more personnel. In response, some owners have enhanced health benefits, raised wages, and introduced more flexible working conditions to attract workers.

The optimism is notably higher among younger tradespeople, aged 25 to 44, who are hopeful about overcoming the labor shortage. Nonetheless, they recognize that stigmas and lack of exposure to trades in high schools deter youth from these fields. It has been suggested that more investment in high school trade programs and increased funding for trade schools could mitigate this issue.

To attract more individuals to the trades, Angi has initiated the "Angi Trade Up Initiatives" program. This initiative provides scholarships, connects job seekers with experienced professionals, and promotes the benefits of trade careers. Hicks stressed the importance of ensuring the availability of skilled tradespeople in sustaining essential services for every American home, from plumbing to general contracting.

Summarizing the perks of working in trades, the Angi study points to significant benefits: autonomy in self-employment, less average debt compared to college graduates, and higher earnings. Furthermore, these jobs offer considerable job security as AI technology is unlikely to replace the need for human hands in home repairs anytime soon.  

German wages rose sharply at the start of 2024 — dealing a blow to the European Central Bank as it decides whether inflation is slowing enough to reduce interest rates.

Negotiated pay increased 6.2% in the first quarter, the Bundesbank said Wednesday in its monthly report. That exceeded estimates by analysts at Bloomberg Economics, Citi and Morgan Stanley, though the figure includes one-off payments to compensate workers for the surging cost of living.

The data come just a day before a highly anticipated reading for the 20-nation euro zone as a whole. The worry is that stronger-than-expected salary gains in Europe’s largest economy mean inflation will take longer to return to the 2% target.

“Overall, there are still risks to the fundamental disinflation process,” the Bundesbank said. “Wage growth has recently been stronger than expected. As a result, still-high price pressure on services in particular could persist for longer.”

ECB officials have left little doubt that borrowing costs will be lowered on June 6, though they won’t commit to a path beyond that and say they’ll be guided by data. They currently see inflation returning to their goal in the second half of 2025 and will publish updated projections in just over two weeks.

But the newest data out of Germany mean that the euro-zone wide figure for negotiated pay will show an acceleration, increasing the risk that officials deliver less easing after June than currently predicted, said Tomasz Wieladek, an economist at T. Rowe Price.

“This will be a significant challenge to the idea that the ECB will deliver sequential rate cuts,” he said in a statement. “Wage data will allow the ECB to cut significantly eventually. But in the meantime, until the point when the data supports additional cuts, the ECB will need to be patient.”

Greg Fuzesi of JPMorgan took a similar view, warning that “the data could remind some policymakers of the difficulty of the ‘last mile,” with recent productivity disappointments also playing into this.”

Consumer-price growth in Germany will probably pick up in May and fluctuate around a slightly higher level in the coming months, the Bundesbank said. At the same time, the economy is set to gather pace as higher pay underpins consumption and confidence in the struggling manufacturing sector returns.

German Growth

Gross domestic product is likely to edge higher in the second quarter after it unexpectedly expanded between January and March, it said.

The Bundesbank warned that, for now, demand in manufacturing and construction continues to be weak — reflecting subdued global trade, higher borrowing costs and increased policy uncertainty. With a sustained industrial revival requiring a broad-based advance in new orders, improving sentiment “probably won’t be reflected in a noticeable increase in production momentum until the second half of the year,” it said.

Service providers, though, are likely to continue their recovery.

“Rising real disposable household incomes are likely to gain the upper hand over consumer uncertainty,” the Bundesbank said. “Further gains in purchasing power are to be expected as the labor market is likely to remain robust and wages will continue to rise sharply.”

Target on Wednesday posted a decline in quarterly revenue as still higher prices on essentials cut into shopper spending.

The Minneapolis retailer also delivered profit results that were below analyst expectations and issued a muted profit outlook. It posted its fourth straight quarter of declines in comparable sales — those from stores or digital channels operating at least 12 months. But Target said it expects that it will get back to quarterly sales growth this quarter.

Shares slumped more than 7% in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Target is looking for ways to reverse softening sales. On Monday, said it would cut prices on thousands of consumer basics over the next several months, from diapers to milk, in a bid to entice customers who are looking for deals.

And it’s also trying to make shopping at Target more convenient and enjoyable to better compete with Walmart and Amazon.com.

Target announced a new paid membership program in April called Target Circle 360 which comes with unlimited free same-day delivery for orders over $35 and free two-day shipping for all orders. The annual $99 per year membership is getting a strong reception, the company says.

It’s updating existing locations, building more than 300 new stores over the next decade, and also broadening store-owned brand offerings for more cost conscious customer choices.

Target is among a batch of retailers that have reported quarterly results so far, but it did not fare as well as Amazon and Walmart. Amazon, the nation’s biggest online retailer, announced better-than-expected results for the holiday shopping period last month. Walmart posted strong sales results, as its low prices have attracted shoppers scouring for deals.

Walmart is also drawing households with income exceeding $100,000 a year as it focuses on convenient and faster ways to shop. Two-thirds of Walmart’s market share gains come from that group, Walmart said.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told reporters Tuesday that shopping patterns are normalizing, with customers gravitating toward services and out of home entertainment, which cuts into spending on discretionary items. He said one of the biggest challenges they face is inflation on groceries and household essentials, which he said in many cases is still up 20% to 30% compared with prices before the pandemic. That, he said, is putting a “strain on consumer wallets.”

But Cornell also noted a healthy job market and the confidence that consumers can find another job has helped to boost spending.

“We haven’t seen a significant change (in consumer behavior) for the last few quarters, and we still see a very resilient consumer and expect that to continue over the balance of the year,” Cornell said.

Target reported net income of $942 million, or $2.03 per share, which is 3 cents short of analysts projections, according to a survey by FactSet. Profit for the period ended May 4 was also below last year’s $950 million, or $2.05 per share.

Its revenue slipped 3.1% to $24.53 billion, slightly better than the $24.52 billion Wall Street expected.

Comparable sales slipped 3.7% in the latest quarter, a smaller decline from the 4.4% drop during the fourth quarter.

Sales declines were primarily in discretionary categories, and were partially offset by continued growth in beauty, the company said. But Target said clothing sales, while still down, improved.

For its second quarter, Target said it expects comparable sales to be anywhere from unchanged to a 2% gain. It expects to earn between $1.95 to $2.35 per share. Analysts expect $2.20 per share.

For the full year, Target continues to expect comparable sales to be no more than a 2% increase. Earnings per share should be in the range of $8.60 to $9.60. Analysts expect $9.49, according to FactSet.

LinkedIn recently surpassed one billion members, with more than 49 million users visiting the platform each week. The site has evolved in the 20 years since it was established, and ironically, the transition to a focus on the newsfeed has allowed misinformation about LinkedIn to proliferate, on LinkedIn.

I’ve been using the site professionally since it launched, and for more than a decade have managed the “enterprise agreement” (LinkedIn’s term for their flagship suite of tools) at the Fortune 500 companies where I’ve worked. I’ve also had the privilege to speak at LinkedIn events around the world, and even at their pinnacle event “Talent Connect”, their annual global summit. All of which to say I am fortunate to be able to offer some insider insight on how the platform actually works:

1) The ‘Open To Work’ Banner Hampers Your Job Search

I had hoped that we’d be able to leave this discourse in 2023, but unfortunately this myth persists. The LinkedIn product team built the feature in response to the first wave of pandemic layoffs, and it was designed with the express purpose of removing friction from the job search process.

The feature has two different options that allow you to indicate you’re open to opportunities, and both yield extremely positive results. The first option allows you to notify recruiters only that you’re in the market for a new job. The second option is the green “open to work” banner that is visible to all users.

Depending on where you are in your job search you may want to activate either or both features. The first feature typically results in a 40% uplift in recruiter outreach. The second feature typically results in a 20% uplift in messages from across the LinkedIn community. Activating these features results in more InMail messages for two different reasons: for recruiters, the algorithm indicates to us that you are in a category that is “more likely to respond”. For all other users, the “green banner” is a strong visual cue that consistently drives folks to go out of their way to make connections for people, as evidenced by aggregate data across the whole LinkedIn ecosystem

As a recruiter, I can’t imagine any universe where you wouldn’t want to use these features.

2) It’s Not Worth Applying to Job Listings With Hundreds Of Applicants

Despite all the LinkedIn chatter to the contrary, you shouldn’t be discouraged from applying when you see a job post with 500+ applicants. The number you see is simply a count of the number of people that hit ‘apply’ which doesn’t tell anywhere near the full story. The delta between the number of people that hit the apply button, and the actual number of completed applications inside the applicant tracking system can be enormous: Read More

To quantify that – at one of the (Fortune 500) companies where I worked, the drop off from external media into the applicant tracking system (ATS) was a staggering 99%. Put another way, for every 100 people that hit apply, we only received one completed application inside the ATS. The application journey was so cumbersome that the vast majority of applicants simply gave up. Although that is an extreme example, it is safe to assume at least 80% attrition in most scenarios, so your competitive set is already have the size that you think it is.

The other major truth of application math is the sheer volume of unqualified applicants: for the 20+ years that I’ve been doing this, in every part of the enterprise, in every geography, the signal-to-noise ratio has consistently been 25% signal, 75% noise. For every hundred completed applications we receive, on average only twenty-five people will meet the minimum requirements for the job. Recruiters spend a significant amount of their time “dispositioning” (rejecting) candidates that should never have applied in the first place.

All of this to say, your competitive set is nowhere near as large as you think it is, so if you meet (or exceed) the minimum requirements for the role, go ahead and apply.

3) There’s Only One Version Of LinkedIn

The vast majority of LinkedIn’s one billion members only ever see the public-facing app and website, but behind those digital store fronts are a number of professional products. Sales folks, for a price, can access a tool called Sales Navigator which helps them figure out who the best prospects are in their target organizations. For professional recruiters there is a product (we get an app also!) called LinkedIn Recruiter:

Recruiters, on average, spend more of our time searching for candidates than we do sifting through inbound applications. Think of it as spear fishing versus catching fish with a trawler net. Whether you’re an agency recruiter, or part of an in-house recruiting team, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is LinkedIn Recruiter. This professional version of LinkedIn allows us to see every single member on the planet. When you search the platform you can see your first, second and third-degree connections. We can see everyone. The whole billion.

One of the most impactful things you can do for yourself, either in the context of a current job search, or long-term career building, is to fully optimize your presence on LinkedIn. Fully complete your profile, update your skills, and broaden your digital footprint by interacting with posts from companies and professionals that you admire. The more well-rounded your digital presence, the more discoverable you are to recruiters. More than ever in this post-pandemic job market, the easiest way to find a job is for a recruiter to find you.

TikTok plans ‘significant layoffs’ this week.

According to current employees who spoke to The Information after being told of the cuts: 

“The layoff will affect a large percentage of the roughly 1,000 people working in TikTok’s global user operations, content and marketing.”

TikTok cut about 60 workers from its sales and advertising teams back in January.

 A house-cured smoked salmon, red grapefruit, avocado and cucumber starter. Dry-aged rib eye beef in a sesame sabayon sauce. Salted caramel pistachio cake under a layer of matcha ganache.

While President Joe Biden and his guest of honor at a White House state dinner chew over foreign policy, the female chef duo of Cris Comerford and Susie Morrison take care of the culinary diplomacy. They pulled off the above menu for Japan’s leader in April, and they’ll have a new array of delicacies for Kenya’s president on Thursday night.

Comerford, the White House executive chef, and Morrison, the executive pastry chef, are the first women to hold those posts, forming a duo that has tantalized the taste buds of guests at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with their culinary creations for nearly a decade. Comerford is also the first person of color to be executive chef.

“Both are just exceptional examples of success in their field,” said Bill Yosses, who was the executive pastry chef for seven years before his departure in 2014 cleared the way for Morrison to be promoted. “They excel at what they do.”

Comerford and Morrison get to do it again Thursday when Biden and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, host the administration’s sixth state dinner, for Kenyan President William Ruto and his wife, Rachel. It will be the first such honor for an African head of state since 2008 and the first for Kenya since 2003.

A lavish state dinner is a tool of U.S. diplomacy, a high honor reserved for America’s longstanding and closest allies. In the case of Kenya, Biden wants to elevate a relationship that he sees as critical to security in Africa and far beyond.

Jill Biden planned to preview the dinner setup for the news media on Wednesday afternoon.

State dinner planning is done by the first lady’s staff and the White House social office, and starts months in advance. Ideas are kicked around before the chefs propose a few different menus. The meals are prepared, plated as they would be served and tasted by the social secretary and the first lady, who makes the final call on what will be served.

The menus change, but the overarching goal has stayed the same.

“We’re trying to showcase American food, American regions, American farmers,” while incorporating small tributes to the guest of honor, Yosses said. “It would be rare that we would really try to imitate something from the guest’s country.”

Ingredients for April’s state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife, Yuko, came from California, Maryland, Oregon and Ohio. The wines were from Oregon and Washington state.

At the media preview for that glitzy event, Comerford explained that the diets of the Bidens and the visiting dignitaries are factored into the preparations, along with those of other guests.

“When we formulate and we create the state dinner menu, we take into consideration all the principals and most of our guests,” she said. “We also take into consideration the season because this is the perfect time for some beautiful bounties right now, with the spring coming up, with all the morels and the mushrooms, and Susie’s cherries and all the stuff she has on her plate.”

The chefs contact their regular purveyors to find out what’s in season, and go from there.

The salmon appetizer served in April was inspired by the California roll, which Comerford said was invented by a Japanese chef.

Morrison’s dessert highlighted Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States, many of which are planted in Washington, and its matcha tea. She decorated the pistachio cake with sugary mini cherry blossoms.

“We wanted to bring a little bit of the cherry blossoms that are here on the Tidal Basin right here to our dessert in order for everyone to enjoy the cherry blossoms that we enjoy every year,” she said.

Serving dinner to hundreds of guests at once comes down to timing. Thursday’s event will be held in an expansive pavilion put up on the South Grounds of the White House.

Sam Kass, who was an assistant chef during President Barack Obama’s administration, said tradition holds that the president is the first one served and that plates are cleared away when he is finished eating.

“You have to have a service that is so efficient and quick to get those plates out so that the last table has a chance to eat,” he said.

Comerford, 61, sharpened her culinary skills while working at hotels in Chicago and restaurants in Washington before the White House brought her on in 1995 as an assistant chef. A naturalized U.S. citizen and Filipino native, she was named executive chef in 2005. Her responsibilities include designing and executing menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions and official luncheons.

Morrison, 57, started at the executive mansion as a contract pastry employee in 1995 while she was working at a hotel in northern Virginia. She was named an assistant pastry chef in 2002 and became the executive pastry chef in November 2014 — just in time to sweat over the details of that year’s gingerbread White House for the holiday season.

The pair have worked together at the White House for nearly 30 years.

Yosses recalled at least one instance where the honoree’s wishes dictated the menu selections.

In 2015, China’s Xi Jinping wanted a very American menu, “which I think was a polite way for him to say that he didn’t think we could do Chinese food very well,” Yosses said.

The Chinese leader was served butter-poached Maine lobster and grilled Colorado lamb.

Elon Musk’s X is partnering with PGA Tour to bring golfing highlights to the social media platform, CEO Linda Yaccarino announced on Wednesday, part of the company’s push into video amid a wider play for sports by Big Tech as viewers continue to abandon traditional TV and cable.


“Golf fans — you’re getting MORE of the TOUR,” Yaccarino said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The partnership will see X “bring real-time highlights and more videos” from every PGA Tour event, Yaccarino said, sharing a brief video of the X and PGA Tour logos next to one another.

“Let’s do this,” Yaccarino said, calling X the “best place for sports.”

Yaccarino did not elaborate further on what kind of content the partnership will yield or how videos would drop, though the next PGA Tour event scheduled is the Charles Schwab challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, starting Thursday.

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