Having just got back home from an evening meal out, I started to think about all the chefs, waiters and waitresses that have to work night shifts so that paying customers like me can have a good time. This got me thinking how lucky I am as an electrician to work mainly day shifts, but also: do electricians work at night?
I have some personal experience of having to work night shifts, but I wanted to take a closer look and do some research of my own to find out if all electricians have to work nights. Also most importantly, how much do electricians get paid for working night shifts!
The majority of electrician jobs that we researched stated that some evening and night time working would be required. Whilst some electrician roles required night working as part of the regular shift pattern, others put forward evening and night shifts as part of potential overtime earnings.
I’m aware that some people enjoy working night shifts, I personally have always found them tough going, so I’ve broken down the different job roles an electrician can do so that we can find one that suits our body clock the best.
First. let’s quickly start with the obvious question that needs to be addressed.
Can You Do Electrical Work at Night?
Electrical work can be done at night, and it often is. In some cases working nights is a superior option than attempting to do the work during the day. In a busy office for example, it is safer to do the electrical work at night when all the office staff have gone home for the day.
One downside of working nights is that darkness can cause a bit of an issue but most of the time electricians are well prepared for working in the dark. We regularly have to turn the power off to the lighting to repair fault etc, so all electricians carry some form of battery powered torch.
Some electricians even carry generators on their vans so they can set up temporary lighting that stays bright long after the battery in the work torch has gone flat!
Which Electricians Work at Night?
From my research I found that maintenance electricians do the largest amount of night time working. The majority of electrician jobs stated flexibility towards evening and night shifts is desirable, but maintenance electrician roles usually stated that night time working was essential.
The table below shows information gathered from career advertisement website Indeed. I searched for all electrician roles which require working evenings/nights and documented the type of electrician role advertised and the company’s statement regarding working outside of normal office hours.
|Electrician Role||Advert Statement Regarding |
Working Evenings/Night Shifts
|Electrician||This is a mobile role covering the South West. Night working, travel and some stay away may be required.|
|Maintenance and Repair Electrician||1 in 11 week on-call Rota|
|Maintenance Electrician||To provide emergency callout response for the client as required and work as part of a call out Rota.|
|Shift Maintenance Electricians||You will be required work a regular shift pattern supporting the site on a 24 hour a day, 365 days per year basis.|
|HV Cable jointer South West England||Due to the nature of our work candidates will be required to travel and stay away from home.|
|Electrical Maintenance Engineer||Be on a call out rota to provide the client with full out of hours cover.|
|Maintenance Engineer||You’ll be working in a multi skilled team working 9.30pm to 6am Sunday to Thursday.|
|Electrical Maintenance Engineer||Monday to Friday shift (6-6 days and nights rotation with days off)|
As we can see many of the maintenance jobs either require night working as part of a shift pattern, or require it as part of being on an emergency call out rota.
I included the job that required staying away from home as this generally means working late into the evening (Unless you are working alone, staying away with work mates can be good fun for a few nights at least)
Most places seem to be quite upfront about having to work shifts outside of normal working times. I guess there’s no benefit in trying to hide the fact as the sparky would only be really annoyed to find out after they’ve taken the job if they only wanted to work an average 40 hour week.
Why Would an Electrician Work at Night?
There’s several good reasons why different types of electricians need to work at night:
- Maintenance electricians need to be there at night to fix any problems whilst the factory is still running
- Emergency on-call electricians need to restore the power as quickly as possible in the event of a fault
- High voltage electricians often have to do very disruptive large scale work, it makes financial sense to do this work during the night
- Contracting electricians find working at height is dangerous with people below, sometimes the safest option is to wait until everyone is safely tucked up in bed.
We’ve highlighted the most important reasons above, but these are not rigid. As an electrician I work mostly day shifts but there are times when I need to be flexible and switch to night shifts. Although I never relish them the additional pay (as we’ll look at) does help ease the pain.
Do Electricians Get Paid More for Working at Night?
Our research shows that the majority of electrician jobs which require working night shifts, attract a higher rate of pay. In some roles the higher pay rate is in addition to the usual salary, but in other roles (that require regular night shifts) it is part of the overall salary
The table below shows electrician job advertisements placed on career website indeed. It compares electrician jobs where night shifts are required with electrician jobs requiring standard working hours (day shifts).
|Night Shift Electrician Roles||Night Shift Electrician|
|Day Shift Electrician|
|Day Shift Electrician Salary|
|Maintenance Engineer||£35,200 – £39,600||Approved Electrician||£28,080 – £34,320|
|Maintenance and Repair Electrician||£32,000 – £42,000||Electrician||£30,000 – £32,000|
|Electrician (Maintenance)||£36,000 – £40,000||Electrician||£35,000 a year|
|Electrical Maintenance Engineer||£32,000 – £34,000||Electrician||£33,250 a year|
|Electrical Maintenance Engineer||£40,000 – £41,000||Commercial Electrician (Days)||£35,000 – £38,000|
|Average Night Shift|
|£35,040 – £39,320||Average Day Shift |
|£32,266 – £34,514|
We can see that the average salary for night shift working electricians is higher than that for day shift electricians. This is a small sample size but it gives us the idea that electricians get paid more when they are willing to work unsociable hours.
Even electricians who work day shifts as the norm can often be asked to work nights for a few weeks or months whilst on a specific job. This usually carries an enhanced rate of pay.
In my experience of the electrical industry, working evenings generally attracts an additional pay premium of 1.5X per hour and working night shifts (anything after midnight) attracts a premium of 2X per hour.
The table below gives an example of an electricians hourly wage increase for working evenings and nights. I have used the electrician hourly wage recommended by the joint industry board (JIB) for 2022-2023.
|Electrician Grade||JIB hourly rate|
|Apprentice Electrician Stage 3||£14.62||£21.93||£29.24|
|Apprentice Electrician Stage 2||£13.81||£20.72||£27.62|
|Apprentice Electrician Stage 1||£12.20||£18.30||£24.40|
You can see why some electricians prefer to work unsociable hours. The pay difference can add up pretty substantially.
Do Electricians Have to Work at Night?
Electricians do not have to work night shifts if they are self-employed, they can pick their own working hours.However, electricians who are employed by a company will often find their contract states they must work night shifts if the business requires it.
If your employer is asking you to work nights and you don’t want to, you can speak to them directly in the first instance. If that fails then you can take the matter to your union rep, however if it is written into your contract that you will work nights it may be an uphill battle trying to fight it.
Most electrician jobs (like all jobs I suppose) want a certain amount of flexibility from their workforce. From my research, finding an electrician job where no evening or night working is ever going to be required is highly unlikely as many customers and businesses now expect it.
How Can Someone Find an Electrician to Work In the Evening?
Posting a job on one of the many tradesmen websites is the quickest and easiest way to find an electrician who is willing to work evenings. Be sure to put in the job adverts that evening work is preferred and remember that the cost may increase due to the unsociable hours being requested.
We’ve seen there are lots of electricians who choose to work nights, not only because their body clock prefers it but it also helps their wallet. To learn about if electricians have to work weekends you can read this article here.