Equip students with the soft skills they need. LEARN MORE ›

Addressing the Trades Skills Gap

Nationally, the technical skills gap is growing because there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill open jobs created by an aging workforce and expanding industries. Burning Glass Technologies found that the demand for workers across 12 career areas surpassed the supply by a total of 4.4 million jobs – with gaps differing by industry based upon the skills required.¹

Generally, those jobs that required a higher level of training, like computer scientists, information systems managers, select trades and healthcare practitioners have more openings than low-skill occupations like Food Service Workers.2

Workforce Gap by Occupation



Demand Exceeds Supply2

Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

Health Care


Demand Exceeds Supply2

Healthcare Practitioners

computer science


Demand Exceeds Supply2

Computer & Mathematical

Manufacturing Jobs Left Unfilled

3.4 Million projected jobs; 1.4 Million open jobs to be filled



Approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age every day for the next 14 years.3


The Solution:

Build Skills Through Simulation

Give your students access to skill-building simulations that build the real-world skills hiring employers want.

Factors Contributing to the Technical Skills Gap

College Enrollment Growth

7.2 percent in 1990-2000; 46.6 Percent in 2000-2012

The Perception that 4-year Degrees Are the Answer to Career Success

Students are often taught that a secure financial future begins with a 4-year degree, which contributes to the growing skills gap in the 2-year trades schools.4  Even in areas where students are seeking 4-year degrees, like Management Information Systems, enrollment is behind job demand according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.5

Technology Advancements

The integration of software and hardware into manufactured products, plus the growing need for a digitized workplace to improve business systems and data security contribute to the skills gap. Businesses require an increased level of data security for their customers’ accounts, most home HVAC units can be controlled by your smart phone and the service engine light on your vehicle is often fixed by a software update, requiring a more technically skilled workforce. There simply aren’t enough trained people in the pipeline to keep up with technology enhancements or market demand.


The Solution:

Create Computer Savvy Learners

Pave the path to employability by empowering students with job-essential computer skills.

Candidates Lacking Applied Technology and Soft Skills

An annual survey by the Career Advisory Board indicates that 69% of hiring managers agreed an applied technology skillset was a competitive differentiator amongst candidates, but applied technology skills still remain uncommon in today’s candidate pool.6

The most relevant applied technology skills include:7

  • The ability to utilize data to make business decisions and draw rational conclusions
  • Using data to improve margins, processes and deploy resources
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Are We Too Soft on Soft Skills?

Also known as foundational or baseline skills, Soft Skills are key to job success, but a recent report7 by Bloomberg NEXT says “new hires are not well-prepared to perform at a high level in a professional environment, primarily because of insufficient soft skills.”8

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The Bloomberg report shows that 40% of 100 senior business executives and 50% of 100 academic leaders indicate that recruits lack the soft skills to function at a high level.8


The Solution:

Put a Harder Focus on Soft Skills Development

Incorporating soft skills training into your curriculum is easier than ever thanks to our partnership with S/P2.

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How Do We Fill These Job Openings with Workers Who Have the Skills Employers Want?9

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Automotive Technicians

# of Jobs: 2016: 749,900

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
6% growth (average pace)

Employment Change: 45,900

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Computer & IT

# of Jobs: 2016: 4,300,000

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
13% growth (> than average)

Employment Change: 557,100

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Construction Laborers

# of Jobs: 2016: 1,449,400

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
12% growth (> than average)

Employment Change: 180,500

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# of Jobs: 2016: 666,900

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
9% growth (> than average)

Employment Change: 59,600

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HVAC Technicians

# of Jobs: 2016: 332,900

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
15% growth (> than average)

Employment Change: 48,800

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Information systems

Information Systems Managers

# of Jobs: 2016: 367,600

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
12% growth (> than average)

Employment Change: 44,200

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# of Jobs: 2016: 404,800

Job Outlook: 2016 - 26:
6% growth (average pace)

Employment Change: 22,500

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The Solutions:

Fill the Technician Gap

Learn how Cengage and key HVAC/R companies are preparing to fill the technician gap through recruiting, training and certification measures.

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Teach to Industry Standards

Discover content for your course that aligns to industry standards and helps meet students’ certification and exam prep needs.

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Find out how your students can get total, on-demand access to all these skill-building solutions for one low price with Cengage Unlimited.


Skill Map

A better way for students to learn the skills they’ll need for the job they’re working towards.

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Like What You See?

1. https://www.burning-glass.com/
2. Dan Restuccia, Bledi Taska and Scott Bittle "Different Skills, Different Gaps Measuring & Closing Skills Gap," Burning Class Technologies, March 2018
3. The Manufacturing Institute, Pew Social Trends
4. National Center for Education Statistics
5. Occupation Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2018
6. https://www.careeradvisoryboard.org/
7. Anne Unger, "Annual Survey Reveals Importance of Applied Technology Skills to Employers," Career Advisory Board, March 2018
8. https://www.bna.com/uploadedFiles/BNA_V2/Micro_Sites/2018/Future_of_Work/Workday%20Bloomberg%20Build-Tomorrow-Talent_FINAL.pdf
9. https://www.bls.gov

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