I’ve just finished one of those days at work that makes you want to throw in the towel and head to the bar for a nice cold beer. I love my job but there are certain times when I can fully understand why some electricians decided to call it a day. I decided the best thing to do was turn the negative day into a positive and right this post about all the reasons why electricians quit.
I thought the best way forward was to ask colleagues who have left the industry and also poll online forums. When I asked a friend for his reasons for leaving he said, “why I quit being an electrician, where do I start!”
From our research polling online audiences and asking ex-electrician colleagues, we discovered the 7 main reasons why electricians quit. They are:
- Long hours
- Getting blamed easily
- Bad bosses
- Boring apprenticeships
- Pulled between jobs
- Constant regulation changes
- House bashing
So that’s the 7 main reasons in a nutshell. Below I’ll break them down into a very brief guide to highlight what some electricians’ beef is with the industry.
7 Reasons Why Electricians Quit
Reason 1: Long Hours
Believe it or not, electricians can actually work very long hours. Most people think of tradesmen as having a lovely day job, always starting the day early but getting to arrive home early. While this is true for many the days can be surprisingly long when we count up the hours.
It is not uncommon to start at 7 am each day and not finish till 5 or 6 pm. Over the week this adds up to 45 hours plus travelling which can be an hour or more each way. Add to the fact that working the whole weekend or being on call is very common among electricians and some start to get fed up with the long hours.
Reason 2: Get Blamed Easily
I guess all jobs come with an element of getting blamed by the people above for mistakes that aren’t ours, but this was one of the stand-out reasons from our research into why electricians quit. It seems that as we are on the front line turning people’s electricity off and generally getting in people’s way, it means we are first in the firing line when things go wrong.
Take today as an example. I was working on a light fitting and a worker from an adjacent office came in and accused me of turning the power off to her computer. I genuinely never touched her power and it had nothing to do with me, but getting blamed for things like that is part and parcel of the job.
Reason 3: Bad Bosses
This is by far the biggest reason electricians gave as to why they quit. The construction industry can be quite a macho industry at times and unfortunately, this attracts some people that can only really be described as bullies.
We’ve all come across bosses who like to throw their weight around, and being an electrician is no exception. Perhaps the difference is that on building sites, bad bosses seem to get away with crossing the line a lot more. A boss effing and jeffing can, unfortunately, be a common sight in the wrong kind of workforce.
Reason 4: Boring Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is a great way to secure a great future. Unfortunately, not all apprenticeships are created equal. The company the apprentice works for and the electricians they are paired up to work with and learn from have a huge effect on the standard of training they receive and their enjoyment of the job. (Not to mention all the tools apprentices need to buy or ask their electrician to lend them!)
A poor electrician apprenticeship can consist of lots of standing around, handing the electrician their tools, being sent to get gear and generally not being shown much and ultimately not learning much. Apprentices that throw in the towel usually do so because they are bored to death by their apprenticeships. Such a shame and a waste of young talent.
Reason 5: Pulled Between Jobs
Juggling workload is difficult for everyone and it’s no different for electricians. If we work for a company we are often sent here, there and everywhere (sometimes travelling a lot in between) to complete jobs always feeling like we are being pulled from pillar to post in order to get all the work down.
Those we spoke to said things arent much different for self-employed electricians. Although they have no bosses so to speak, they do have customers. Customers with mobile phones ring at all hours of the day and night to state that their job is the most important one on the electrician’s list. A very difficult balancing act to juggle.
Reason 6: Regulation Changes
I’m all for the regulations changing (Amazon link to regs book) and making electrical installations safer for everyone. However, sometimes the pace of change can seem unrelenting. Regulation changes was a common reason for quitting from older electricians we spoke to who were approaching retirement age.
Electricians in the higher age group reported that they decided to hang up their tool belts rather than study for the new regulation exams. Add to the exams the constant renewing of certificates such as working at height licence (IPAF) and ECS cards, and we see why these are milestones when some electricians decided to quit.
Reason 7: House Bashing
House bashing refers to the process of wiring domestic houses, usually new builds, but can reference existing buildings as well. It can also be referred to as face down, a$s up working as this is the position you have to spend all day curled up in trying to fish wires under floorboards and through overcrowded loft spaces.
Make no mistake, house bashing is very hard work and takes a huge toll on electricians’ bodies. If an electrician is unable to change career path and head towards more commercial work or an easier maintenance sparky life they can decide to quit completely and hunt for a less physical office-based job.
“Why I quit being an electrician, where do I begin?” This is the statement from my ex-colleague that started the post and I think we have shown there are definitely some negatives to the job. These reasons are not usually enough in isolation but built up over a 20, 30 or 40-year career on the tools and we begin to understand a little more.
I wanted to end on a high note by being clear that as stated in the beginning I love being an electrician. I love the fact work is so varied, that I get to be physically active, see new environments and work with fun and interesting people every day. I can understand why some electricians quit, but all being well I’m definitely not going to be one of these for the foreseeable future.