A Challenge to the Electric Industry

  • Have you noticed that some high schools may not be delivering consistently qualified candidates to the exciting and rewarding electrical industry? Is there apathy toward vocational training and the electrical trade? Sometimes it feels this way when reading job vacancy postings and talking with others in the field.
  • To meet deadlines and to staff some job sites, do you have to borrow qualified workers from other electrical contractors (if possible) or use labor pools (who sometimes send unqualified help) just to get the job done?
  • Have you found that qualified, skilled, journeypersons have been decreasing in numbers recently and over the past few years?
  • Is it because of retirements or are some journeypersons just reluctant to take over the responsibility of supervising electrical installations? Sometimes they just seem to want someone else to do it!
  • Does it concern you that you must spend valuable effort, expense, and unnecessary time trying to institute innovative ways to improve your hiring process?
  • If no other jobs are available, do young people of today want to enter a situation of just hands-on only without training their minds to advance or benefit others?
  • Do people want the monetary benefits of a position or classification without the work and commitment necessary to achieve advancement or certification in a trade or vocation?
  • Are we in a real labor shortage now and will there be a catastrophic one in the near future?

If this is the challenge, then as an industry, we had better find a solution and try to fix it as soon as possible.  Maybe all of us should become ambassadors for our industry.

We all can recruit and convince future workers that the electrical trade is never boring.  It is a great way to earn a decent living and there will always be a demand for a skilled tradesperson.

In order to recruit for anything, you must know the subject or product you are trying to sell.  To convince someone to join us, you must love the subject or the product itself and be able to highlight all of the perks and economic benefits.

First of all, the subject or product to which we wish to attract others is really easy to define.  Without electricity, where would all of us be in the timeline of our culture and society? 

Rushing or moving water, hydro-dams, coal, natural gas, oil, special wood, wind, solar, and other alternate power sources can be converted into useable, electrical power.  Generation stations, transmission facilities, transformation to usable voltages, motors, appliances, industrial machinery, signs, lights, receptacles, computers, etc., are all kinds of inventions designed to protect and advance lives in a safe, comfortable, easy and convenient style. Again, where would the world be without electricity? 

We have to convince young, middle-aged, and older persons that the electrical industry is a concept where hands may produce the work or product seen, but it is the mind that produces the advanced equipment that helps everyone lead that more productive life.  Surely, a creative mind can come up with ideas to improve existing conditions or foster new ways of doing any task.  Aren’t we only bound by our imaginations as to what can be electrically invented to make life better, faster, and more economical?

People who can join the electrical trade must know that an educated individual is a person who can really listen and really see what makes things operate and work.  Reasonable costs for schools and apprenticeship training programs are at their fingertips – all they have to do is enroll so that they learn and advance in the trade.

They then must put this knowledge and training into practice so they can produce a product that will earn them a better than average salary and thus a better than average living standard.  The electrical industry itself has evolved so that incentives such as a decent healthcare plan, reasonable paid sick and vacation times, and advancement for work produced are usually part of any hiring package.  Applicants should know that workers who are drug-free, honest, dependable, and hardworking will achieve well- paying jobs.

To be sure, electrical contractors and firms must also learn that workers must be trained in all aspects of the trade rather than just putting them in one specialized area.  Electrical workers must be well-versed and willing to know all aspects of the industry.

YES – we must all recruit and convince future workers that the electrical trade is filled with opportunity for advancement, job security, and excellent salaries for those who take the electrical trade seriously.