The state of the Electrical Industry.

In today’s ever changing environment with technological advances changing the rules and conditions of the way we conduct business, it’s good to have an understand on the current state of affairs. Here’s some food for thought.

Company size

The first thing to be analyzed and understood is what the typical company specializing in electrical contracting looks like. About 70 percent of all electrical companies hire fewer than 10 employees and revenue annually less than $1 million. The number of small businesses has grown from 63 two years ago to 69 percent. What is more, the percentage of large firms, employing over 100 workers has gone down from 11 percent in 2004  to a mere 6 percent in 2008. This can be mostly put down to industry consolidation by means of mergers and acquisitions (see Tables 1 and 2).

Age: the looming threat

The average age of respondents has grown from 48,6 in 2004 and 50 in 2006 to 51,5 years old. More than 50 percent are over 35, which indicates that a younger group of electrical contractors is not taking on the leadership pipeline. 52 percent of respondents is made up of those between ages 35 and 54, which is a decrease from  58 percent in 2006. Simultanously, there has been an increase in the number of respondents closer to retirement age (over 55 years old) from 33 to 39 percent in two years (see Table 3).

The youngest age category is clearly shrinking with the older age brackets going up in number. Similarly to other industries, electrical construction is due a significant shift in leadership. Over the next two decades, those leaders and employees who are experienced will retire in large numbers, leaving a dearth of leadership and experience behind, unless that has been foreseen and succession planning is taking place preparing younger people for their leadership roles. However, if these problems are not faced in time, a lot of electrical contracting may be sold or closed down in the next few decades.  

Education

Regardless of the size of the business, majority of respondents have some college education. 25 to 30 percent received their formal training through either an apprenticeship or at trade or vocational school. When analyzing the sector by education and size of employer, there are few differences, except those in companies employing under 10 workers are more likely to have apprenticeship, trade or vocational training (see Table 4).

Race: still lopsided

When looking at race in electrical contractors sector, the numbers are as follows: 87 percent Caucasian, 7 percent Hispanic, 4 percent African-American and only 1 percent Asian. When compared to smaller businesses, companies hiring over 10 employees turn out to be more likely to include minorities in field and management positions.

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