As the National Electrical Contractors Association predicted 20 years ago, we are now in the midst of an electrician shortage. The combination of more experienced electricians leaving the field than new workers entering the field has given us a supply and demand imbalance.
Labor shortages across many industries is unfortunately today’s reality. Part of this is due to the increased percentage of Baby Boomers, an important part of the workforce, who opted for early retirement during the pandemic. The uptick has leveled off, but the fact remains that by 2030 all Baby Boomers will have reached age 65 or above, so expect those retirements to increase.
Generally this would be fine, and considered just a normal part of the labor cycle, except we have an issue with being able to fill the need left in their wake. Younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, haven’t been pursuing careers in skilled labor to the same degree as previous generations.
Compounding the issue is that electricity consumption is rapidly growing with the increased use of electric vehicles, devices and buildings that rely on electric power. The full electrification of our communities is accelerating the need for skilled electricians. From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts electrician jobs to grow 9.1 percent, which is higher than the 7.7 percent rate of other occupations.
So what is being done to address this issue? Recruiting high school students to apprenticeships and utilizing labor staffing agencies are some of the tactics being used to increase the electrical workforce. Make sure to spread the word that being an IBEW electrician is both a rewarding and lucrative career, and that opportunities abound.