close up of roof with windows

The global construction industry is a rapidly growing one, expected to log a CAGR of 6.5% by 2023. As part of the construction industry, roofing has also seen tremendous growth. It is projected to have a CAGR of 4.6% from 2020 to 2027. Business is constantly thriving in the roofing industry. This rise in the demand for construction, urbanization, and technological innovations all contribute to its growth.

Is it a good industry to get into? With the statistics we’ve just mentioned, as well as some other factors, it may be. But like other industries, roofing has its drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

The job description

A roofer repairs, installs, and replaces the roofs of commercial, industrial, or residential buildings. It is their responsibility to ensure that roofs are durable and intact. Apart from just doing the roof assembly, roofers must carry out inspections to take the necessary measurements and determine the materials and procedures that would work best for the project, given the client’s budget and preferences.

Roofers must also build around other overhead structures in buildings such as chimneys, gutters, and vents. But roofers are often unequipped with knowledge or training for chimney maintenance and repairs, so any problems with wood-burning fireplaces or the like need to be seen by the proper specialist.

A type of blue-collar job, roofing is a dangerous and physically demanding profession, requiring workers to carry out their services on tall structures in different weather conditions.

The pros

Roof installation

But while roofing can be dangerous and physically taxing, like certain other blue-collar jobs, it has a few advantages over white-collar jobs. The first one being that it doesn’t require a four-year college degree. Aspiring roofers need classroom training and a three-year apprenticeship experience, which would not cost nearly as much as a college degree. Apprenticeships are on-the-job training programs that enable students to apply their learnings in the field. It also allows students to network, which helps their careers in the future. Apprenticeships are also counted as real work experience.

Related: University vs. Apprenticeship: Which One Is Right for You?

These characteristics come as considerable advantages in this economy when student debt is at a record-breaking high, and the pandemic has forced many into remote work – if not blatant unemployment. College tuition is also increasing, with only some schools yielding to students’ pleas to lower tuition fees.

The World Economic Forum also predicts a changing job landscape in the coming years. In the 2020s, they predict that white-collar jobs in accountancy, administrative work, and data-related jobs will decrease in demand due to the rise of automation systems such as artificial intelligence (AI) that can also accomplish those tasks. The jobs of the future require workers to have both soft and hard skills. Contrary to popular belief, blue-collar workers have soft skills such as critical thinking and communication skills. They need these skills to assess situations, determine the best methods to proceed, and communicate with their clients and co-workers.

Getting into the roofing industry may be a wise decision. For one thing, roofs are a necessity for buildings. But they can also be the most neglected part of a building, so they need a lot of maintenance. Lack of maintenance can lead to more breakage. Roofs need to be replaced every 15 to 25 years. The high demand for construction and urbanization contribute to the high demand for roofing services.

The cons

But there are also a few disadvantages. As we’ve already mentioned, roofing is a highly technical and dangerous line of work. Roofs are high up, making it risky for even homeowners of bungalows to attempt inspections or roof cleanings. So it’s not surprising that worker shortage is the main thing that keeps the industry from growing. Other things that keep the industry from growing include high installation costs and lack of marketing. Despite all this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that roofers’ employment will grow 11 percent by 2026.

With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching on, many people continue to be unemployed or underemployed. While efforts are being made to lower college tuition fees, student debt loans continue to rise. Apprenticeships and blue-collar work present themselves as appealing alternatives to expensive four-year college degrees designed for training future white-collar workers. Trade jobs such as roofing don’t require expensive college degrees and amount to student loan debts that can often take many years after graduation to finish paying off. While roofing and other jobs under the trade industry are not without their share of disadvantages, they should be recognized as viable alternatives for making a good living.

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