Wage Growth in Construction Outpacing National Average

Amid slowing U.S. wage growth overall, the labor-starved construction industry stands out amongst the rest with electricians especially benefitting.

For all industries, annual wage growth in October was 2.1%, unchanged from a month earlier, according to Glassdoor. However, annual wages for construction workers rose the most of any profession tracked by the jobsite provider, increasing 6.1% year-over-year to a median pay of $42,942.

“Construction has been rebounding with the cuts to interest rates from the Federal Reserve, and so you’re seeing a shortage of workers drive up wages in that industry,” Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao told NPR’s Marketplace.

Electricians are really feeling the increase. In Portland, Oregon, for example, the base wage for journey-level inside electricians is up by more than 5% since 2018, according to the rate sheet of Local 48 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The higher pay is attracting more apprentices to the Portland NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center. 

Pretty much anyone who wants to work is working, added Bridget Quinn, the center’s workforce development coordinator.

“We’ve seen a huge surge in the number of apprentices that we have taken in, lots of overtime if you choose to take it,” Quinn said. “There’s a lot of hiring incentives.”

Across the United States the national average salary for an electrician is $53,794, with a low of $36,000 and a high of $77,000, based on 3,469 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by electrician employees (union and non-union). Additional cash compensation such as annual bonuses range from $551 to $14,798, with an average of $2,051.

Average annual salaries for related jobs across the nation include $41,000 for an apprentice electrician and $69,000 for an electrical technician.

For IBEW journeyman electricians, the average salary nationally is $32.86 per hour—21% above the national average for all jobs, according to jobsite Indeed. Most people (89%) who rated their jobs on the site believe they are paid fairly through the IBEW, and common benefits across the country include a 401K plan, dental insurance, employee discounts and health, life and vision insurance.

About the Author

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than three decades of experience writing about the construction industry, and her articles have been featured in the Associated General Contractor’s Constructor magazine, the American Fence Association’s Fencepost, the...

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