According to AGC’s recent survey, 70 percent of U.S. construction firms report difficulty hiring skilled labor for their companies. Of the more than 1,600 survey respondents, 70 percent said they are struggling to recruit new electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and roofers.
Even IEC National President Bruce Seilhammer’s company is not immune. “My company has 28 electricians, but we could easily use five more journeymen,” Seilhammer testified to the House Small Business Subcommittee this September. “But with a limited availability of qualified electricians, we have to grow our own through apprenticeship.”
Apprenticeships Too Slow
Apprenticeship programs in most states require a ratio of two or three journeymen for every apprentice on site. This makes bringing up new apprentices a slow process.
The problem is particularly acute in Texas, where a strong housing industry driven by consistent population and job growth has already been stressed by the shortage of skilled workers.
Construction Trades Pushed to the Limit
Demand for skilled labor is soaring in the face of hurricane rebuilding jobs in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Limited labor resources are forcing contractors to turn down new work because they simply do not have the people to send out to the job.
Pushed to the limit of their capacity, contractors need labor immediately.
Unable to Add More Labor, Trades Pursue Efficiency
When recruiting efforts fail, the only choice left for contractors seeking to take more jobs and grow their business is to somehow complete more work in less time.
One efficiency option now available to electrical contractors to reduce the time required for roughing-in new commercial and residential builds is called wire-free switching.
Completing More Work Without Hiring New People
Using wire-free switches, electricians gain hours by not having to do the rough-in for traditional wired switches. With no drilling, running wire, installing boxes, or changing switch locations, the electrician gains all the time that would have been consumed by wired switch rough-in tasks.
When a crew can complete an electrical rough-in four to eight hours faster, that team can move on to the next job earlier, completing more units per month.
Calculating the Financial Upside
Wireless switch manufacturer Levven Controls has created an online tool for electrical contractors to estimate their potential earnings when using wire-free switches. Click here to access the online calculator.