WHERE ARE THE WORKERS?
Updated: Feb 1
Whether you’re grabbing a bite to eat or mailing a package, people can’t stop talking about how hard it is to find good help, or any help at all. The skilled trades, specifically the electrical industry, are feeling this more than ever. The application rate for young people seeking technical jobs — like plumbing, building and electrical work — dropped by 49% in 2022 compared to 2020. While the creation of technical positions has continued to grow, the number of students interested in applying for them hasn't. So why aren’t people applying for jobs in the electrical industry?
For years, skilled trades jobs such as an electrician have not been talked about in favorable ways. People make comments like, “You better study hard or you’ll end up like them.” Years of this poor narrative have made a job as an electrician seem like a career only for uneducated, rough-around-the-edges people. What many adults failed to see when they were making these comments to young people is that the opportunity for growth in pay can be even higher in a skilled trades position than in a white-collar job. The average salary of a college graduate is $55,260 while the average salary of an electrician with two to four years of experience is $61,500.
COLLEGE OVER VO-TECH
The route of going to a four-year university has been made out to be a one-size-fits-all solution for every high school graduate. This has been a disservice to our youth as well as our industry. Many people are hands-on learners, and this industry allows for fast growth and on-the-job learning. While college may be the right route for some students, the option of going to a technology center or junior college shouldn’t be viewed as the second-best option. By fairly giving students the option to attend a technology center, they can learn skills that will last a lifetime and set them up for success with a fraction of the investment.
There is a common misconception that by working as an electrician, you would be a “contract laborer,” therefore not receiving insurance or any other benefits to support a family. Especially at Fiske Electric, that is the opposite of the truth. While the risk of injury tends to be higher in the skilled trades jobs, disability insurance and other insurance options make this a controlled and calculated risk. Not to mention, safety is our number one priority.
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Despite the challenges the electrical industry faces regarding cultural narratives and labor shortages, those that choose this path have great opportunity ahead. Every single home and business in America requires electrical technology to function. Solar and other renewable energy sources are rising, and job opportunities rise with them. As the electrical industry grows and changes, Fiske Electric will too. We are grateful for our current workforce who has helped us get to where we are today and are excited about our future.
Learn more about careers at Fiske Electric.