Construction Projects Delayed Due to Electrician Shortage

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Electricians play a critical role in the construction industry from the beginning to the end of a project. Their responsibilities often include installing electrical fixtures for the electrical equipment used in the project, wiring, and final installation of fixtures at the end of the project.

Unfortunately, the supply of electricians has been downward for the past two decades, even as their demand keeps increasing. As a result, there have been considerable delays in construction projects across the country, resulting in higher project completion costs and poor customer experiences.

This guide explores the electrician shortage issue from its causes and emerging opportunities in the sector.

Causes of Electrician Shortage

About 20 years ago, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) predicted an electrician shortage. While their prediction would have been unbelievable then, it is now a reality. Even before the electrician labor shortage started making headlines in the past few years, employers struggled to find hires for years.

This means businesses engaging electricians in their projects have to scramble for the few available electricians in the market, which are hardly enough to meet the demand. NECA cites several reasons as the cause of the delay including:

Experienced Electricians Leaving the Industry Fast

A big chunk of electricians belongs to the baby boomer generation. This generation was born between 1946 and 1964, meaning the youngest among them is above 55, with the oldest being 77. That means this generation is retiring with the problem of early retirement occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the problem.

While the early retirement trend seems to have passed, the labor shortage problem is set to last longer, considering all baby boomers will be past the 65-year mark by 2030. This means that almost all of them will have exited the industry creating an even bigger gap unless the entry rates into the industry change.

Fewer People Are Getting Into the Trade

From generation X downwards, there has been increased societal emphasis on obtaining a college degree to improve the chances of getting a well-paying and “respectable” job. As a result, fewer and fewer students view vocational training and acquiring technical schools as less prestigious, resulting in a shortage of skilled workers across all industries, including electricians.

Lack of awareness of the opportunities available in the skilled trades among young people when making career choices doesn’t help. Many young people are unaware of the benefits of pursuing a career in the skilled trades, such as job security, improving wages occasioned by the high demand, and opportunities for advancement.

This lack of awareness leads to a lack of interest in the industry and, consequently, a shortage of skilled workers even when it is an excellent career path.

Increasing Demand

Creating a balance between retiring electricians and new hires will not solve the problem of electrician shortage because demand has been on the rise too. The demand for electricians has been growing through the years, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting job growth of 9.1 percent between 2020 and 2030.

This rate is relatively higher than other occupations, which averages 7.7 percent. With the increased demand comes better pay, and there has never been a better time to pursue an electrical career.

This guide to becoming an electrician in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is an excellent read if you want to get a general overview of the career and industry would still be a good read.

The Construction Industry Is Affected The Most

The electrician shortage is having a toll on all industries. But different industries are feeling the impact differently. With the construction industry employing the largest chunk of electricians, the impact of their supply shortage hits the industry the most.

As a result, the construction industry must change its approach to attracting electricians to remain competitive amidst the shortage, such as by offering better remuneration for electricians and other incentives to give the few a reason to want to work in the industry.