The Job Market is Awful... But Not for Electricians

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Did you know that in 2023, the Google search “Jobs that don’t require a degree” was among the top ten inquiries? In a world, post-COVID, the job market is in the toilet. You know it. I know it. It’s a fact throughout practically every profession.  

The number one recommended job in those desperate searches is “electrician”, but the question is why? 


Table of Contents 

  1. The Current Job Market
  2. The Shortage of Labor-Intensive Workers
  3. Are Today's Electricians Underqualified?
  4. What Types of Electricians Make the Most Money?
  5. Combating the Shortage
  6. How Using Technology Can Help
  7. A Long-Foreseen Job Outlook


    The Current Job Market 

    As of February 2024, the national average unemployment rate stands at 3.9%. This is significantly less than what we saw during the peak of the pandemic, though akin to the rates of unemployment seen during the Recession of 2009.  Within this in mind, there are 6.5 million people unemployed across all varieties of ethnic backgrounds, age, and industry.  

    While there are reports of an increase in America's job market, this increase is specific to only government and electrical work. So, while many Americans are still struggling with finding and holding jobs amidst shortages and lay-offs, electricians are seeing the opposite problem. 


    The Shortage of Labor-Intensive Workers 

    So, why are there so many available electrician jobs? It’s because there’s a labor shortage in the construction industry and even more so within the electrician sector. According to the Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGC) 2023 Workforce Survey, 79% of firms are having trouble finding electricians. 

    One major reason for this shortage is because electricians are vital to most construction projects, but the applicant pool hasn’t been able to find apprenticeship positions very easily. Additionally, as of mid-2023, the industry has recovered only about 60% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. This time of uncertainty and loss caused many workers to push for early retirement. Also, the exodus of Baby Boomers to retirement and growing wages in other sectors like transportation and warehousing brought the number of electricians down further.  


    Are Today’s Electricians Underqualified? 

    Today's electricians are not under-skilled, rather the label of 'underqualification' stems from the pandemic. During the last three years, emerging electricians should have been completing their training and finding apprenticeships in the industry, but for a while, there weren’t any resources available for this to happen.  

    With residential homes closed off during COVID’s social distancing, up and coming electricians, freshly out of their training, had nowhere to go to begin their hands-on work. Seasoned electricians did not want to dish out the funds to employ an apprentice and many preferred not to have another person in their personal space amidst health concerns.  

    These newer electricians are smart, skilled, and useful, but the current job market has not given them the opportunity to catch up with a constantly changing industry. This has led to unfinished construction projects and a large number of jobs left unattended. When you search Indeed or other job boards for electrical work, there are hundreds, if not thousands of open availabilities across every state.  



    What Types of Electricians Make the Most Money? 

    Okay, so if there’s a shortage of electricians and a plethora of work available, then there’s only one question left – which of these available electrician jobs is right for you? Well, that depends on a variety of factors including personal interests, location, fit, etc., but we’ve created a list that can help get you started in your search. 

    Here are 10 of the highest-paying electrical jobs: 

    Avionics technicians install and maintain electrical systems on aircraft. Pilots and computers use these systems to control planes physically and electronically, so avionics technicians must work carefully to keep planes in the air and passengers safe. Avionics technicians can also work overtime and often earn a large portion of their income from overtime hours. 

    Primary duties: A commercial electrician's duties are much like those of an industrial electrician, but they don't have as much expertise in manufacturing settings. High demand is a primary reason this job pays well. 

    • Lineman: National average salary: $82,340 per year per year. 

      Primary duties: A lineman repairs and maintains outdoor electrical equipment such as power lines and poles. The work pays well since it can be dangerous, requires physical fitness and involves constant attention to maintain safe practices. 

        Primary duties: A marine technician installs and maintains the electrical systems on boats, which help power and navigate onboard equipment. Due to their specialized knowledge, they can often find high-paying jobs. 

          Primary duties: A wind turbine technician installs, repairs and inspects wind turbines. This job involves complicated repairs and specialized knowledge, so it's paid well to compensate for the intricacies involved. 

            Primary duties: Electrical technicians work on building, repairing, testing and maintaining electrical equipment, usually under the supervision of an electrical engineer. This work often occurs in laboratory, manufacturing or repair shop settings. 

              Primary duties: A maintenance electrician can work in any commercial or manufacturing setting to install, repair and maintain electrical equipment. This job is similar to an industrial electrician, so demand is also high for this position. 

                Primary duties: An electrical foreman supervises the work of other electricians on interior and exterior projects such as construction sites and electrical stations. They plan and design electrical systems and oversee their installation and maintenance. 

                  Primary duties: A solar installer, also known as a solar technician or PV installer, installs and maintains photovoltaic systems, or solar panels. This job mostly consists of outside work and involves travel. Solar panels continue to grow in popularity, so as demand continues to rise, job opportunities and salary increases are expected. 

                    Primary duties: An industrial electrician repairs and maintains electrical equipment in commercial and manufacturing settings. They earn large salaries partially because of the continual demand, as many manufacturing operations involve electrically powered equipment. Working as an industrial electrician on oil rigs can pay particularly well because of the isolated environment, the special safety knowledge required, and the profitability of the industry. 



                    Combating The Shortage 

                    Today’s youth are not being shown the value of high-demand labor jobs, as many parents push teens into 2–4 year universities. While this typically has good intentions, it can lead to delays in the next generation entering the job market in pursuit of a college degree. In fact, a total 53.2 million former students say they’re unsure about the value of their degree, part of 39.4% of the 135 million Americans who’ve completed higher education. 

                    In addition to that fact, many electricians express that their greatest regret when it comes to their career is not joining the industry sooner. As an electrician, something that you can be doing in order to help lessen this shortage of workers is to advertise apprenticeships to a younger audience. Present the electrical trade accurately as a prestigious one that has lit American streets and highways, powered skyscrapers, and electrified rural areas. By investing time and effort in the steps above, you can continue that crucial legacy of progress with recruits. 


                    How Using Technology Can Help: 


                    Gen Z is the most technologically advanced generation and they are vital to the continuation of strong and well-staffed electrical work.  The strong trend towards EV, solar, and battery storage is causing the electrician’s trade to be more technology-driven than ever before. 

                    Demonstrating a heavy understanding of upcoming technologies to younger audiences at high schools should be central to recruiting efforts, especially when those high schools offer shop or trade courses—but even without an in-school opportunity for students to explore the industry, electricians can create learning opportunities and internship programs that will help strengthen interest in electrical work. This can be done just as any standard hiring process would. 

                    Another suggestion would be to invest in smart technologies such as virtual reality training to keep your electricians up to date on training and engaged in their education before they ever step foot into the field.  


                    A Long-Foreseen Job Outlook 

                    While finding labor has been tough, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians have expected job growth of 9% in the next decade. This estimate indicates an additional 84,700 job openings for new electricians, with many becoming available because of employee transfers and retirement. Electricians may see career advancements that coincide with the development of alternative sources for generating power, like wind and solar. In the coming years, projections illustrate electricians are going to be necessary for installing these alternative power sources to power grids, commercial buildings and residential homes. 

                    These jobs aren’t expected to go anywhere, anytime soon. So, if you’re struggling to find a job and aren’t already in the electrical field, consider changing career paths. We’ll always need electricians.  


                    1 comment

                    • Posted on by julia
                      Maybe I’ll become an electrician !

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