Employment Outlook for Electricians

Job stability for skilled workers

Those who have the right skill-set will have no trouble finding a job as an electrician. In 2004 there were over 650,000 jobs, a number that's expected to grow. And not only are there a lot of jobs, but they aren't concentrated around a few cities. Electricians are needed virtually everywhere!

Electrician wages

The average job growth projected for electricians will be due to several reasons, one being an increased need for installation and maintenance of electrical devices and wiring. New technologies such as automated manufacturing systems will mean more complex wiring systems. Retrofitting will also be a big growth area for electricians, who will be required to upgrade older buildings to meet existing safety and fire codes. Add to that the large number of current electricians who are on course to retire in the next decade.

  • Median hourly earnings - $20.33
  • Middle 50 percent - $15.43 to $26.90
  • Top 10 percent - over $33.63
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $12.18

As with many construction-related jobs there will be better opportunities in faster growing areas. However, electricians working in construction will feel the same effects of economic downturns. Maintenance electrician jobs should be steadier, but it's also possible that manufacturing industry workers will be subject to layoffs in times of recession. The most jobs will be with electrical contracting companies.

In recent years about one in 10 electricians have been self-employed, while most who work for others are in construction and maintenance.

Electrician wages by industry

  • Motor vehicle parts manufacturing - $30.04
  • Local government - $22.24
  • Nonresidential building construction - $19.99
  • Building equipment contractors - $19.76
  • Employment services - $15.62

Line installers' and repairers' wages

Line installers and repairers provide the connections necessary for electricians to do their jobs. It's expected to be a slow-growing career opportunity over the next decade with openings mainly due to retirement. Employment growth is expected to be even slower for electrical powerline installers due to industry deregulation that has forced companies to make staffing cuts. New jobs will mainly be with the construction industry.

Electrical powerline installers make a slightly higher median wage than the median for all line installers.

  • Median hourly earnings - $23.61
  • Middle 50 percent - $18.00 to $27.64
  • Top 10 percent - over $32.54
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $13.31

Statistics courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004