Trade programs formally train electricians, through schools and unions, and provide a structure to develop electrical skills and become certified. The trade programs are generally more stable, and produce higher performing electricians. The independents are non-formally trained electricians, who are hired at the lowest cost, and learn electrical work on the job. The independents are less stable over time, due to their lack of schooling and certification, and are often hired by private companies and not unions.
On average independents, make $18 an hour, whereas a formally educated electrician will make $26. The problem has been seen most recently during times of recession, much like the recent Great Recession, where highly skilled positions were outsourced to reduce cost in the private sector. Due to this phenomenon, young men fall into the trap of “getting easy money quick,” so private companies hire them as cheap labor and begin work as soon as possible. Over the past decade, the electrical industry has ranked in the top 10, as one of the most deadly jobs. This is due to the number of unskilled and informally trained electricians in the field.
Recent surveys show the average age population of electricians is 50, due to a low barrier to entry, for young cheap labor to enter the private sector. Many of the private sector field-trained electricians find out later in life, a lack of certifications will create a price ceiling and work instability. Many of these electricians return to formal education in their mid-years, in order to receive a certification that will help them acquire a more stable unionized job. This creates the age gap between the influx of informally educated young laborers and returning old laborers, now certified. Additionally, during this process, a decrease in skilled labors occurs, most naturally due to the private sector employing the majority cheap labor jobs.
This analysis has shown how people do not understand their inability to cheat life. A person cannot receive something for nothing. In the end, people will receive what they deserve and the electrical construction industry being top rated as “one of most deadly professions,” is merely a reflection of the majority type of individuals who pursue the profession. When price is the focus in any transaction, quality and performance will always decrease.