WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America will face a
shortage of electricians in the near future, according to the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics. Projections show that, by the year 2014, the national
need for electrical workers will rise to more than 734,000 -- a figure
78,000 beyond the number currently employed in the field.
Explains Edwin D. Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers (IBEW), a number of factors are seen converging to
produce the predicted shortfall in electrical workers, from high-tech
demands swelling faster than the ranks, to the overall graying of America.
Says Hill, "Electrical workers are aging, as is the general population. The
task ahead is not only to recruit and train more electricians to meet the
needs of a growing industry, but to make provisions to replace current
electricians who will retire."
America is not alone in contending with a shortage of electricians.
Around the world industrialized nations are grappling with shortfalls as
their worker populations age. Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland and the UK
have all reported major electrician shortages -- with an estimated 37,000
vacancies in the UK alone. Canadian analysts warn that most of that
nation's skilled electricians will retire in the next 10 years, triggering
a massive shortage. In Australia, the dwindling ranks of electricians and
other skilled trades has become so severe that it is now the number one
constraint on business investment, according to a recent survey by the
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Says E. Milner Irvin, president of the National Electrical Contractors
Association (NECA), "The predicted shortfall of electricians in the U.S.
won't be just the industry's problem. Shortages affect all businesses up
and down the line, by generally driving up the cost, and driving down the
quality, of any product or service."
Although the concerns are shared, countries differ in the strategies
devised to meet future workforce needs. In Finland, where 99 percent of
electricians are men, efforts are aimed at attracting women to the field.
In Australia, recruiters are looking overseas, encouraging skilled
electricians to immigrate.
Here in America, NECA and the IBEW have taken a multifaceted approach
to addressing the shortage. Says Hill, "Through our National Joint
Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), we have been actively
promoting our apprenticeship program to stem the manpower drop-off. Right
now, we have nearly 40,000 apprentices in 290 programs around the country.
And we aim to increase those numbers by committing $100 million annually to
develop the electrical workforce of the future."
What's more, students contemplating careers can find encouragement to
join the field at http://www.electrifyingcareers.com, an informative Web
site jointly created by IBEW and NECA. At the site, visitors can browse
through descriptions of nearly 60 different types of jobs available, as
well as watch video testimonials from students already pursuing careers in
this critical, opportunity-laden industry.
Says Hill, "The need for skilled workers to meet the growing electrical
demands of our high-tech society is a concern that cuts across geographical
borders. Only by national and united efforts like the NJATC can we hope to
match the growing need for years to come, to keep our future bright."
ABOUT IBEW AND NECA
Acting through their joint marketing organization -- the National
Labor- Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical
construction industry -- NECA and IBEW together work to:
* Reach customers with accurate information about the industry; and
* Achieve better internal communication between labor and management.
With 750,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields -- including
construction, utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing -- the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is among the largest member
unions in the AFL-CIO. The IBEW was founded in 1891. For more information,
Voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting,
power and communications to buildings and communities across the United
States, the National Electrical Contractors Association was founded in
1901. NECA's national office and 120 local chapters advance the industry
through advocacy, education, research and standards development. For more
information, visit http://www.necanet.org.
SOURCE National Electrical Contractors Association/International