Key insights from a survey report commissioned jointly by the JIB and Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), and published by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP), has revealed differences in requirements and opportunities for the UK’s electrotechnical sector at a regional level.
With a total workforce of around 276,000, best case scenario calculations estimate around 33,000 additional skilled workers are needed by 2027. Of those employers questioned, 54% and 49% respectively expect demand for qualified electricians and apprentices to increase over the next two to three years to meet the positive growth. With the increased focus on low carbon skills and the Net Zero agenda, the sector has been well aware of how pivotal the electrotechnical sector will be in achieving these lofty ambitions, but now this data shows the extent of the issues at a regional level with more insight from those actually responsible for designing, installing and maintaining these systems. This presents the opportunity for industry to come together and lobby those with the power to make changes at a local level.
The Labour Market Intelligence report outlines trends in the sector over the past few years, providing a rich insight into the state of the electrotechnical sector in terms of its workforce size, demography, and skills needs and key opportunities.
Some of the key trends reflected in the report include:
- Greater London: higher proportion of 25-49 year olds in the workforce (66%) than UK average (50%), and greater emphasis on ageing workforce as barrier to take-up of new technologies (28%, cf. 20%)
- South West England: greater importance attached to new technologies as a factor driving workforce changes (22%) than UK average (9%)
- North West England: higher proportion of 16-24 year olds in the workforce (28%) than UK average (20%)
- Yorkshire and Humberside: higher proportion of 16-24 year olds in the workforce (23%) than UK average (20%), and higher levels of satisfaction with skills of job applicants (69%, cf. 58%) and availability of suitable training locally (84%, cf. 69%)
- East of England: lower proportion of 16-24 year olds in the workforce (14%) than UK average (20%), and higher proportion of 50-64 year olds (37%, cf. 26%).
The electrotechnical sector continues to lead the charge of a rapid evolution in how we use technology – with increased demand for digital communication, energy conservation, electric vehicle charging and renewable energy solutions with a particular focus on the electrification of heat (such as heat pumps) in buildings. One of the underlying drivers for most of this development is Net Zero and the targets for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050 mentioned above. The JIB acknowledges that the challenges and concerns in the sector in responding to demand will vary region by region and is committed to tackling each issue by highlighting its own regional structures and plans to strengthen engagement with skills issues at a regional level. The London region is an interesting case which shows the capital has the highest proportion of younger workers, and yet is the region with a higher perception of an ageing workforce as being one of the main barriers to take up of necessary skills, which shows that the quality of training, and likely impact of some of the lowest apprenticeship provision and highest proportion of self-employment, is having a greater impact on skills.
Jay Parmar, Chief Executive of the JIB, commented: “The figures listed here provide just a snapshot of the report’s findings and underline how the sector varies significantly by region. By engaging with local stakeholders the JIB is well equipped to empower employers in each region to influence progressive decisions about local investment in skills and training. By tailoring policies to local conditions we can deliver improved targeted and valued outcomes. Through the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) we are continuing our work to align industry on the expectations for electricians upskilling into areas of low carbon technology to ensure the workforce have the right skills and experience and, crucially, that clients and main contractors can easily verify this. This report highlights key opportunities for employers to help shape the regional skills agenda in structed manner to help deliver a win for learners, win for employers and win for Net Zero.”
An infographic showing the report highlights can be viewed here