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Combatting the Skilled Worker Shortage

July 14, 2023
From the EC&M e-books library: How to revitalize the electrical industry and attract the next generation of workers.

The June issue of EC&M revealed the Top 40 Electrical Design Firms of 2023. This popular special report has been a yearly tradition for decades. To determine the annual ranking, EC&M conducts a survey of electrical design firms that not only reveals the Top 40 for that year but also offers insight into the state of the electrical industry.

Survey respondents of the Top 40 are given the opportunity to share how their company has been impacted by a variety of factors such as new technology, recent legislation, backlog, and labor. The responses on labor-related questions are usually illuminating and serve as a good indicator of the state of the job market for electrical professionals. This year was no exception.

Of the industry leaders surveyed in this year's Top 40, a whopping 94% said that they are experiencing labor shortages. To put this number into perspective, in 2021 only 70% of respondents said they were experiencing labor shortages. In addition, 92% of respondents said they added headcount in 2022, and 91% said they planned to add positions in 2023. Those responses are in agreement with information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts the industry will add 80,000 new electricians each year, on average, throughout the decade.

As the United States increasingly pushes toward electrification, electricians are more important than ever. And as more and more electricians reach retirement age, attracting the next generation of electrical workers becomes even more urgent.

The first two articles in this e-book, "Hire Education" by Tim Kridel and "No One is Coming to Save Us" by Harold De Loach, discuss the labor shortage facing the electrical industry and ways to combat it. In order to revitalize the industry and ensure its future, each writer advocates for promoting skilled trades to the younger generation. As De Loach puts it, "The electrical trade must advocate for itself." Their insights serve as a good foundation for the rest of this e-book.

The third and fourth article in this collection, "Good Help is Hard to Find" and "The Hardest Jobs to Fill in the Electrical Industry," give you a chance to hear from industry leaders themselves. These pieces offer some great insight into the hiring challenges faced by top firms and how they are finding qualified workers despite the labor shortage. Finally, the last article offers some practical solutions to mitigate and overcome labor shortages. In "5 Ways to Make Recruiting Easier," contractors learn how to make their recruiting process more efficient.

No matter what role you play in the electrical industry, I know the compilation of articles in this e-book will be a worthwhile read. Electrical professionals are an integral part of our society, and ensuring that future generations find their calling is crucial.

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