Chapter Corner

Electricians Light Up at the Opportunity to Work on More High-Tech and Interconnected Jobs

Posted in: Emerging Technologies, November/December 2016

In today’s world, technology is constantly evolving and the electrical trade is on the cutting- edge of these advancements. Electricians are dealing with higher demands, more complex systems, and difficult integrations in projects ranging from high-tech installations to smart homes. These advanced systems bring their own set of challenges for electricians, but they can also bring opportunities to grow the industry.

Insights-Photo_Light-Up.gifElectricians are enjoying the challenge of working on more high-tech installations and complex systems. According to Klein Tools’ 2016 ‘State of the Industry’ survey, 42 percent of electricians surveyed prefer to work on high-tech installations, which is up from 31 percent in 2015. This increased interest is from young electricians and apprentices who have grown up with technology at their fingertips. These young electricians and apprentices are looking for careers to incorporate the technology they use every day and are finding that the electrical industry is a great way to do this. They also want to gain experience in this area as they see its potential for future growth. This interest in technology from young electricians and apprentices is why training programs are staying up-to-date and providing apprentices the skills they need to work on high-tech installations. Klein Tools has committed $2 million over the next five years ensuring apprentices receive the most up-to-date technologies and tools. The investment ensures students will train with high-quality, professional-grade tools and materials, and will receive the highest possible educational experience. With training programs keeping up with the demand of high-tech installations, students will be ready for whatever challenge they see on the job site.

High-tech installations aren’t just a young electrician’s interest; many experienced electricians also enjoy working with advanced systems. In 2015, only 24 percent of electricians with 10 to 19 years of experience in the industry preferred working on high-tech installations; however, in 2016, there has been a significant increase. 51 percent of electricians with 10 to 19 years of experience prefer working on high-tech installations, according to Klein Tools’ 2016 ‘State of the Industry’ survey. And 24 percent of electricians with more than 20 years of experience also prefer working in this challenging area. More experienced electricians enjoy figuring out these advanced systems and want to keep up-to-date on their craft. With young electricians, apprentices and experienced electricians all enjoying the challenges of these high-tech installations, it brings a wide array of ages to the same job site. This helps grow the entire industry as the electricians with varying levels of expertise learn from and with one other. This collaboration helps to lessen the skills gap as experienced electricians mentor young electricians and apprentices. Through mentorships and collaboration, the electrical industry flourishes with the new ideas that arise.

The popularity of high-tech installations isn’t just appealing to electricians; many homeowners are wanting to incorporate advanced systems into their homes. Klein Tools’ 2016 ‘State of the Industry’ survey found that nearly one-half of electricians are seeing more “connected” homes. This means that contractors are calling for more electricians who are skilled with these newer, more digital-tech focused systems. This demand is something the electrical industry must keep up with as smart homes continue to increase in popularity.

Not only do electricians and apprentices enjoy the challenges and tech-dependency of smart homes, but they also enjoy working with the state-of-the-art tools and systems. Being able to work with the newest technology is thrilling. Electricians are able to see how these advanced systems operate and become experts in this new field. It also gives electricians a feeling of accomplishment as they work on the latest systems and wire them to perfection.

As the industry expands and creates new challenges for electricians, electricians keep growing and adapting with it. By taking on complex jobs, electricians drive the industry’s growth and create more opportunities. Because of this commitment to the industry, Klein Tools created an award to recognize those that push the industry’s capabilities. Through the Electrician of the Year award, Klein Tools recognizes electricians for their professional achievement, safety excellence, and community dedication. Without those who are willing to exhibit ownership in difficult electrical work, promote jobsite safety to the highest standards, and provide a service to their community, the industry would not advance.

These electricians also encourage experienced and young electricians and apprentices to work together to create collaboration and help lessen the skills gap. By staying up-to-date on the latest trends and using state-of-the-art tools, electricians are able to manage the most difficult tasks. Without electricians who push the industry to do better, the electrical field wouldn’t be where it is today.

Electricians are ready and able to take on the challenge of smart homes and high-tech installations and welcome the opportunity to do and learn more. The state-of-the-art tools and the technology also appeal to electricians and brings more young electricians and apprentices to the thriving industry. With varying levels of expertise, electricians can collaborate together to ensure the future of the industry and encourage growth for individual electricians and the entire electrical industry.

Mark was elected as co-president of Klein Tools, an IEC National Platinum Industry Partner, in January 2015 after playing a significant role in Klein’s double-digit growth over the past four years. In his leadership, Mark is responsible for worldwide sales; marketing; customer service;andthecompany’s affiliates, Klein Cutlery and Klein Tools de Mexico. Mark serves on the company’s board of directors, holds a BA from the University of Iowa, an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and has attended executive education programs at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.