Saw this going viral a few days ago America needs carpenters and plumbers. Gen Z doesn’t seem interested
Gen-z is smart enough to know where the money is at. Either it’s on social media (which offers a small chance to earn a ton, such as Instagram reels) or with white-collar jobs (which offers consistent, large pay). Low-skilled work is guaranteed low pay with little to no hope of promotion.
Low skilled wages tend to lag no matter how high or low inflation is. When inflation is high, like it is today, wage earners still get squeezed. When inflation is low , such as due to recession , they either get fired or don’t get raises.
This is extremely salient. Our wages are not keeping up with inflation and our housing prices are way out pacing inflation. The single family home white picket fence American dream is not fiscally possible for most millennial working Americans. https://t.co/1FkHV86NcY
— Jennifer Zilla (@jennifer_zilla) January 24, 2023
Maybe the takeaway is to pay these workers more if society wants more of them? Obviously, this overlooks microeconomic factors, but this is a problem of incentives. [Companies that hire low-skilled workers, such as retail, tend to have thin profit margins and cannot easily afford raises, which is part of the problem.]
The college degree + home ownership + investing is still the best lifehack or ‘hustle’ for a shot of entering the ‘middle class’. Low-skilled work likely means never being able to afford a home, and thus a lifetime of renting.
White collar work is better in almost every way:
1. less susceptible to economic fluctuations, more stable
2. much greater pay
3. fewer initial costs such as certification as is often seen in the trades (student loans cost a lot but college grads in competitive fields tend to find employment easily)
4. more consistent pay
5. better working conditions, lower risk of occupational injury
1. student loan debt, but this can still be cheaper than costly certification and training
2. DEI, diversity draining, political correctness, etc.– but it’s not like service sector jobs are immune this too
3. long hours
4. time in college means time not earning
Software and apps are hard to learn and economically valued. There will always be high pay and demand for those who can learn to code well. Crypto gambling? Not so much. Even grads with ‘useless’ humanities degrees and student loan debt fare better than crypto gamblers who don’t have degrees. The signaling value of the degree, even if there is no obvious job applicability, makes it worthwhile for employers, who pay a large premium for college grads.
In my neck of the woods highly skilled service people like HVAC, plumbing, electricians, automotive, etc. are all white. All this stuff is now so complex you have to have an IQ of 95 or so minimum. This won’t change. They all charge around $100/hour, sometimes much more. Basically, white guys keep the whole thing running.
The college-educated, meanwhile, do jobs that are bureaucratic and perceived effect is difficult to tell. Especially lawyers. They are very good at telling each other how important they are but it’s very hard to determine what value they actually contribute. Hence, they are very neurotic, meaning they have a lot of unresolved conflicts and can’t deal very well with reality.
So we end up with shortage of blue-collar workers. Because incentives aren’t there.