TikTok trades – inspiring the next generation of tradespeople

Although tradespeople don’t even make up a minority of TikTok’s user base, the platform has a surprisingly larger-than-life community dedicated solely to manual trades. You can watch hours of content related to anything from bricklaying to landscaping, offering an insight into various trades and their daily routines. 


As the UK currently undergoes a labour shortage, ductwork and air ventilation specialist Airmatic knows that one solution is attracting new talent and upskilling younger people through apprenticeships.


The TikTok trade community is not only a form of entertainment but can be leveraged as a marketing tool and a platform for challenging some of the expectations and perceptions that younger people may have about a career in manual trades. 


Endless content

The rise in trade-related content on TikTok can be largely attributed to the home renovations/DIY category, which is currently the fifth most popular content category with over 8.9 billion views. Some of the most popular categories underneath this umbrella include flooring (9.3 billion), carpentry (7.6 billion), plumbing (7.5 billion), roofing (6.6 billion), and landscaping (5.1 billion).


Whether it’s learning how to paint a room or tile laying, TikTok offers a wealth of tutorials covering diverse subjects catering to different skill levels. So much so that the demand for this content has inspired more and more businesses and self-employed tradespeople to produce their content. 


Addressing the labour shortage 

With an ageing workforce and a decline in younger people entering the trades, the UK is faced with hundreds of thousands of unoccupied positions across multiple sectors. Attracting and retaining talent and offering better opportunities for young people can help address these shortages and bridge the gap.


Apprenticeships have been shown to support the current skills shortage, pushing firms to think creatively about attracting talent in the hopes of training up the future workforce. According to the latest UCAS 2023 application figures, there has been a growing demand for apprenticeships, as 40% of students considering undergraduate study were also interested in apprenticeship options, making a 180% increase since 2021. In 2023, there was a 22% increase in the number of apprenticeship views on Career Finder, further demonstrating this rising popularity.


For this reason, TikTok represents a pivotal marketing opportunity. Through video content, companies can adapt their strategies to engage young people by showcasing the positives of this style of work, company benefits and breaking down other perception barriers that younger people may have. By consistently creating and sharing engaging content, you can demonstrate brand transparency, increase brand awareness, build an engaged audience and effectively market your products and services. 


Challenging the misconceptions

Misconceptions are still rife in the industry around career routes and most importantly about the earning potential. Although seven out of the 11 trades professions earn more than the national average salary, a survey by Checkatrade reported that the majority of participants underestimate this amount.


There are also some reservations about diversity in the industry. For the younger generation, visual representation is key as 23% of young women from the same survey said that they would consider a trades career if they saw more people like them in the industry.


By showcasing the creativity, skill, and diversity in manual trades, TikTok has the power to inspire a viable future for these careers in young people’s minds, by breaking down stereotypes, demonstrating representation and giving a sense of belonging in industries traditionally dominated by male and older demographics. This further demonstrates that TikTok’s trade craze isn’t just about entertainment but about investing in a positive future by empowering and inspiring the tradespeople of tomorrow.

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