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Electrical Contractors Struggling to Find Workers in Busy Construction Market

Jan. 13, 2022

While contractors are bullish about their 2022 growth prospects, finding enough skilled workers will continue to be a key challenge. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction market has 345,000 job openings. When you consider that electrical contractors account for 13% of construction employment, they probably have at least 44,000 job openings.

You get a good sense of just how big an issue hiring is for electrical contractors when you look at the number of firms posting job openings on LinkedIn. EM’s editors found more than 1,500 jobs posted by 10 of the nation’s largest electrical contractors, including 531 openings at M.C. Dean; 229 job openings at Quanta Services; and 226 electrical job openings at Faith Technologies.

A research report recently published by the Associated General Contractors (www.agc.org) showed the scope of the worker shortage challenge across the construction industry. The report, “Expecting Growth While Coping with the Lingering Impacts of the Pandemic: The 2022 Construction Hiring & Business Outlook,” said 83% of the respondents are having a hard time filling some or all salaried or hourly craft positions, compared to only 8% who say they are having no difficulty. (The remaining 9% have no openings.)

AGC said most respondents took steps in 2021 to attract and retain workers. Sixty-two percent of the contractors responding to the survey increased base pay rates more than in 2020. Additionally, 33% of firms provided incentives or bonuses. About one-fifth (21%) of the contractors increased their portion of benefit contributions and/or improved employee benefits. Only 12% of firms provided no increases in pay, incentives or benefits in 2021.