- Features | April 7, 2014
Mobilizing Electrical Contractors to Help Build a Sustainable Future
Electrical contractors today face a dynamic landscape with new technologies and digital solutions, evolving codes and standards, an aging workforce, environmental concerns, and rapidly changing customer requirements.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the electrical contracting industry is expected to rise 33 percent by 2020, adding about 1.8 million jobs. Continued investment in apprenticeship programs, on-the- job training, and continuing education courses for both current electrical contractors and new workers entering the workforce will be critical to prepare them with the skills they need to remain competitive in this dynamic industry.
Electrical Contractors in the Digital Age
The use of digital tools is infiltrating all aspects of everyday life from personal to professional.
In recent years there has been a large growth in the use of mobile devices and tablets for professional productivity. As consumers become more tech-savvy, they transfer their knowledge into the workplace to be more organized, efficient, and synchronized. This has become especially evident with the younger generation entering the workforce. This trend is changing the way businesses think and interact with their customers and employees, and it is redefining roles within a broad spectrum of industries.
This digital transference has become increasingly evident within the electrical contracting community. Today, the role of the electrical contractor is being reshaped as new digital platforms and tools offer possibilities for changing the way they work, think, and interact with their customers and networks.
The adoption of digital technologies is being spurred by several factors, including industry demand for alternatives to drive more business, improve staff productivity, and be nimble in a constantly changing business environment. For example, one of the biggest challenges many electrical contractors face on a daily basis is change. Their jobs are filled with constant change – whether it’s a change in design because the end-user changes specifications or finding something unexpected during an install. In order to address these daily disruptions and demands and to provide efficient and reliable service for their customers, contractors need quick access to product information to find and order new parts.
Electrical contractors entering the workforce tend to seek different job benefits than their predecessors did. A good job is no longer just about a pension, but rather a flexible employer who welcomes new ideas, including how to take advantage of new digital solutions and platforms, and who gives their employees room to grow and expand their skill sets.
Electrical contractors are increasingly demanding new digital solutions and tools to help them do their jobs more efficiently. The convergence of technical and business information being delivered increasingly through mobile devices, the ability to work in real-time with greater access to information and resources, is now critical to remain competitive in the industry.
Collaborating to Address the Energy Dilemma
While the use of mobile devices and digital platforms is changing the way contractors work and interact with their customers, environmental concerns and new energy-efficient solutions are also playing an enormous part in transforming the role of the electrical contractor.
Environmental concerns and the availability of energy efficient solutions such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers, home energy management systems, and building information modeling (BIM) are enabling more intelligent and connected infrastructures and positioning electrical contractors to play a pivotal role in creating a more sustainable future for the United States.
Energy consumption, including electricity and other sources, is expected to double in t