October 20, 2022

How Can You Organically Grow Your Workforce?


4 Min. Read

The demand for electricians is growing — the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects nearly 80,000 electrician openings per year over the next decade. New technologies and the federal initiative to add electric vehicle charging stations across the country continue to escalate the demand for these workers. However, the skilled workforce is aging. As a result, electrical contractors trying to recruit new workers face a highly competitive job market.

It is important to think about ways to organically grow and train your workforce. Even small contracting firms need to create hiring strategies to avoid finding themselves short-staffed.

Thinking ahead

Examine your current workforce. Odds are that, like in other electrical service companies, more than half of your skilled workers are age 55 and older. Even if your labor force is younger, you are constantly competing with those other firms for young talent. In a recent survey, approximately 68% of electrical contractors reported that they were having difficulty finding trained workers. Furthermore, 27% reported having difficulty retaining trained staff.

Try to identify your future hiring needs whenever possible. Most electricians’ work has shifted from standard wiring projects toward higher-tech areas, such as EV charging installations, smart home technologies, and home battery backup capabilities. Accordingly, you need workers who possess the latest skills or are eager to learn new techniques. In fact, 80% of respondents to a survey from Electrical Contractor reported taking training in the past year or planning to in the next year. Given the shortage of skilled specialists, it pays to be proactive and implement programs to build your staff.

Grow your team

Hiring great electricians requires a well-thought-out recruiting strategy that illustrates how your firm will take new hires, from trainees to journeymen and eventually master electricians. A strategy like this will give entry-level and mid-career candidates a solid reason to choose you.

Here are some ideas on ways to establish and embody your commitment to training in all career phases:

  • Do your homework and open your mouth. Talk to any local high schools, junior colleges, and vocational programs. Making connections and talking about your firm serves as positive word-of-mouth marketing that will help outplacement staff remember and recommend you to potential candidates.
  • Partner with schools, community colleges, and other institutions. Plan ahead to create these relationships well before graduation time. Look for any possibilities to educate students about this career field, as misconceptions are common. One wonderful educational opportunity is to allow students to shadow working electricians already on your payroll. Ensure those students know who to contact regarding any future openings. Likewise, note who you would like to keep in touch with, as well.
  • A mentorship program can help. Using a mentorship program creates and maintains relationships between employees and allows both the relationships and the workforce to thrive by creating a sense of belonging and an educational growth opportunity. Pair new hires with experienced electricians to facilitate the transition as an aging workforce retires. You can even pair mid-career personnel with masters to learn skills and foster leadership roles for the future.
  • Offer paid training and part-time positions. This can be a great way to recruit trade school students before they graduate. They will appreciate the opportunity to gain additional experience and earn some money. Train techs in-house for technical skills, as well as for sales and customer service. Identify the individuals you want to hire full-time once they finish school.
  • Offer tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement. Getting help paying for school is a powerful motivator. You can set up a program to pay part of a student’s tuition or reimburse part of it if they sign on with your company and works for a specific length of time.  In addition to various higher education benefits, the military offers a similar program with medical, dental, and even veterinary schools. Likewise, you can use the program to encourage current employees to pursue continuing education opportunities.
  • Don’t overlook continued development. If you have a promising employee who needs additional technical skills or even computer or customer service training, invest in ensuring your existing talent pool stays up to date in their skills and that current employees are happy with their jobs. Competitive pay, solid benefits, and bonuses are great methods to ensure employee satisfaction and, in turn, retention. Keeping ambitious, talented employees happy can also motivate others.

Take advantage of training through Qmerit

Now is the time to become part of the Qmerit Certified Solutions Partner (CSP) Program to get a piece of the electrification solutions business. Qmerit has built a respected, growing network of electrification experts across North America, and has collaborated with the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) to reduce the shortage of skilled EV charging electricians and technicians.

The collaboration expands access to the EVITP curriculum and testing needed for EVITP certification by making them available through the Qmerit Resource Center (QRC), an online training portal for Qmerit’s certified electrician network spanning the U.S. and Canada. EVITP certification is often required to work on EV charging installations that come through utility programs or that will be supported by the just-passed Inflation Reduction Act.

Our CSP program and QRC offer tools and coaching to help grow your workforce and get your team the necessary training on the latest electrification technologies. We will connect you to a pipeline of pre-approved customers needing EV charging stations. Build the future of your business and learn more about the Qmerit CSP Program.

Author: David Santillo

David Santillo

Senior Vice President, Contractor Support