How the Electrician Shortage Affects Plans To “Electrify Everything”

Electricians are among the most important professions in our society. They’re the ones responsible for installing, maintaining, and fixing vital electrical fixtures. With the looming electrician shortage, however, the trade sector is faced with the challenge of filling in important job positions. How is this situation unfolding?

The Dilemma With Fewer Electricians

First, let’s talk about if there is a shortage of electricians working in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there are an estimated 80,000 electricians needed every year. It is difficult for electrical contractors to find experienced workers to replace electricians who are about to retire or are choosing a different occupation. Those in the electrical servicing business experience a lack of skilled individuals to work on their projects.

Meanwhile, homeowners are experiencing delays in the installation of vital electrical fixtures like generators or renewables. Commercial and industrial operations are also seeing their project deadlines pushed back further due to the lack of experienced electricians to do installation, maintenance, or repairs of their systems.

This is brought about by the impending retirement of previously working electricians. Skilled electricians leaving the industry are mostly Baby Boomers who are reaching their retirement. However, people aged 55 and above had their premature departure from their jobs – accelerated further due to the pandemic. Although retirement is a normal cycle in employment, there is an imbalance between the number of retiring electricians and fewer workers filling the positions.

Another reason is the common misconception that working in the trades means earning lower. That’s why young people often disregard electrician jobs in favor of others they deemed to have higher pay. When, in fact, electricians are one of the highest paid trades due to the level of skills and complexity of their jobs. 

Aside from the higher salary, an electrician can also enjoy benefits including 401(k) retirement plans, insurance, and continuing education courtesy of the company that they work for. These are just some of the many amazing benefits to enjoy if you become a licensed electrician or a similar position in the sector. It’s a challenge to attract young people – particularly students about to enter the job market – to choose a career in the trades. Their talent and skills are needed, especially now that the U.S. is moving in full gear with its electrification plans.

The Move to a Clean Energy Economy

This is where the looming electrician shortage becomes a problem: we are now moving towards cleaner energy sources. Ideally through reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and more on electric-powered devices and operations. We’re already seeing this with the increasing use of electric vehicles instead of diesel or gas-powered vehicles.

The government is pushing initiatives to make consumers switch to environmentally-friendly alternatives. The goal is to replace equipment currently powered by fossil fuel with ones that have an electric-powered source. This electrification plan by the U.S. government is aiming for 90% carbon-free resources by 2035. How will this be possible? There are heavy investments in the current power grid to source the majority of the energy from renewables.

Coal-fired power plants are also being turned into renewables to generate electricity. This is one of the biggest challenges in the U.S. power grid: how to make the switch to renewables while generating the same or even higher power capacity.

Developments in the renewable power sector call for a large number of electrical workers to work on transmission, maintenance, and other duties. As we shift our electricity generation to alternative sources, there is a rise in demand for workers in the field. The number of electricians actively working may not be enough to work on these installations and repairs.  It’s an additional demand to the already burdened electrical sector providing services to residential, commercial, and industrial operations.

How Contractors Keep Up With the Rising Demand

Electrical contractors and businesses operating in the same sector are actively doing their best to address the electrician shortage. Cooperation among the business, local community, and government organizations is crucial to ensure that a new breed of electricians is ready to take on the job. Here are some of the activities and initiatives that contractors are pushing for:

1.Trade Jobs Awareness

More young people and students have to be informed about the countless job opportunities available in the field. They need to know that they can build a career by becoming an electrician. Contractors do this by highlighting the opportunities one can benefit from when they choose a job as an electrician. This includes a stable career, a high salary, and many other benefits.

Students as early as in high school should ideally be aware of the various job options available to them. They should be exposed to the wonders of the job as skilled electricians and other jobs in the trade profession. Some of these individuals may already have an interest – they just need to know the current high demand. 

2. Recruitment Initiatives

Contractors and businesses in the trade sector are also ramping up recruitment activities. This is to make it visible for individuals looking for a job opportunity. Job fairs are easily one of the regular events that are aimed at young individuals looking to join the trades. Meanwhile, several organizations include career counseling activities as part of their events to spur more interest in the electrician job.

The visibility of job hiring – both online and offline – will entice people to consider a job as an electrician. Also, they need to already know what’s in store for them. The local business community is doing its share of highlighting the various benefits of becoming an electrician. It has to be an attractive job offer for them to make the switch.

3.Access to Training

Training is a vital part of becoming an electrician. Before an individual becomes a licensed electrician, they need to undergo training that combines classroom-based education and on-the-job training via an apprenticeship. These apprenticeships are available in different areas around the United States so that an individual wanting to become an electrician can start training.

In Minnesota, for instance, the SCMNJATC and MPLS JATC provides a thorough apprenticeship for future electricians. They’re making the training opportunity accessible for everyone. Whether you’re a student who is considering career choices or a seasoned employee wanting a fresh career, these training programs are available for you to join.

Do You Want To Be Part of the Solution?

The shortage of electricians happens due to several reasons – among them, retirement and people changing jobs. The imbalance between the increasing demand against the current number of workers causes an electrician shortage. With this, the job of an electrician needs to be emphasized – it is a rewarding career option and a necessity in our community.

We rely heavily on electricity. It is a basic necessity in today’s modern world. Especially with the fast development of technology, electricians are all the more needed to ensure that the electrical systems in our house, business, and work settings function properly.

Electricians are one of the most valuable and sought-after professions today – with higher wages brought about by the demand for their skills. If you’re interested in becoming part of the fast-rising sector, electrician apprenticeships are available from Power Partner MN. The organization helps aspiring electricians to become the future masters and technicians of an electrified society.