State of the Industry: Millennials Enjoy the Skilled Trades

July 6, 2018
Millennials believe employers need to continue to attract younger workers by showing how skilled trade jobs make a difference in people’s everyday life.

Klein Tools announced new results from its annual “State of the Industry” survey, with input from more than 800 union and non-union electricians. Survey results highlight when and why millennials are entering the industry. The results also explore how employers can attract the next generation to the trades in order to end the labor shortage that our nation is facing today.


Age and Reason Electricians are Entering the Industry


Results showed that more than half of millennial electricians, 57 percent, entered the industry when they were 25 years old or younger. Of these electricians, 77 percent entered the field as an apprentice. These millennials are choosing a career in the trades for the following reasons:

  • 52 percent of millennial electricians chose to enter the field because they enjoy problem solving and the technical aspects of the electrical industry.
  • Half of young electricians chose a career in the industry due to the field’s job security.
  • This generation of electricians also sought out an electrical career because they prefer to work with their hands.


“As the skills gap remains a nationwide labor crisis it is great to see millennial electricians now joining the industry as apprentices, recognizing how rewarding a career in the trades can be,” says Mark Klein, president of sales and marketing at Klein Tools. “As employers, we must continue to offer apprenticeship and training opportunities to continue to encourage the next generation to enter the skilled trades.”


“Klein Tools’ current partnerships at the local and national levels offer training opportunities to high school students, apprentices and other hard-working men and women, so they can explore the skilled trades and see firsthand the many benefits a career in the industry can bring. For example, Klein Tools’ newest Pliers Promise initiative partners with Project H.O.O.D. and the HVAC Technical Institute to equip Chicagoans with the resources, skills, tools and experiences needed to be successful in the field. Additionally, our long-standing commitment to supporting IBEW-NECA through The Electrical Training Alliance has helped develop unique hands-on opportunities for apprentices around the country. Through these educational experiences, Klein Tools has helped support and motivate individuals who are not only passionate about their work but are also a perfect fit for the industry.”


How Employers Can Recruit the Next Generation


In order to change the perception of what a career in the trades entails, employers need to showcase the many benefits skilled trade jobs offer to the next generation. Nearly half of employers offer apprenticeship opportunities; however, millennial electricians believe employers can do more to recruit the next generation.

  • Nearly half of millennial electricians believe employers should showcase how a job in the skilled trades solves everyday challenges and makes a difference in people’s lives.
  • 45 percent of young electricians feel employers can highlight real life stories of how exciting a career in the skilled trades can be through videos and social media.
  • Millennial electricians also believe employers should feature the high-tech skills required for the job and the flexibility a career in the trades offers.


“Employers are doing a lot to recruit the next generation to the industry, but there’s even more that can be done,” says Klein. “One way Klein Tools is reaching the next generation is through entertaining messaging, such as our Tools that Power America’s Passion video campaign. Our behind the scenes footage looked at all of the hard work electricians accomplish to create unforgettable experiences, like lighting up parade floats as they drive down Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras and illuminating a Friday Night football game so we can cheer on our favorite team. These videos recognize the tradesmen and women who transform America’s most iconic places into breathtaking events, showcasing how interesting and exciting a career in the electrical industry can be.”


More than 800 union and non-union electricians were surveyed for the Klein Tools “State of the Industry” survey by Russell Research, an independent survey research firm. Russell Research conducted 201 online interviews from Jan. 20-26, 2015; 200 online interviews from Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 2016; 200 online interviews from Jan. 10-18, 2017 and 200 online interviews from Feb. 2-14, 2018, to secure a nationally significant representation. Forty percent of respondents were union members and 60 percent were not.


For more about the survey results, please visit: