Frankly Speaking: Labor Shortage Won’t Spare Farrier Industry

There’s a widely held belief that a bachelor’s degree is an absolute necessity in order to live the American Dream.

There’s at least one segment of the population that demonstrates just how misguided this concept is — the farrier trade. According to the exclusive American Farriers Journal 2016 Farrier Business Practices Survey, 24% graduated from a 4-year college. Yet, the average full-time farrier made more than $98,000 annually in 2016. Compare that with the average electrician — who earns $55,590, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — and it becomes clear that farriers are doing something right.

“For 2 or 3 generations, the focus has been to go to college, get a degree and in doing so you will ensure a brighter future with more access to employment,” Dr. Genevieve Stevens of Houston Community College at Central College told the Houston Chronicle in 2013. “We started focusing on academic instruction, but left behind the notion of work-force education.”

As a result, 45% of U.S. employers report that they are having a difficult time hiring talent, according to ManpowerGroup’s 2016-17 Talent Shortage Survey. What role are they having the most difficulty filling? The skilled trades are atop the list for the fifth consecutive year. Couple these statistics with the growing realization that the gap will widen further as more and more baby boomers will be leaving the work force in the coming years.

Why is this important to the farrier trade? It could place a burden on those who…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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