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The big squeeze

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It’s been 332 days since the UK entered its first lockdown, and it’s safe to say that these have been the longest days of our lives. But it’s also true to say that for some it’s been especially hard.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly brutal on those in the electrical trade, and while there is a ton of support available from a range of industry groups, that hasn’t stopped electricians from facing hardship. 

Whether it’s a reduction in what work is actually available, or simply having to accept less for each job, many in the electrical trade are currently bringing home less than they were pre-pandemic. In fact, according to Hudson Contract, self-employed electricians in January took home just 87% of pre-pandemic earnings. 

January is always traditionally a slow month for self-employed electricians, but with the UK currently in the midst of a third lockdown, it was especially painful this year. There are, however, signs of encouragement. 

The housing market continues to be strong, with house prices hitting a record high, which means there’s still a demand for new build housing projects. That’s why many self-employed electricians are reporting their order books are completely full, despite the slower start to the year. 

Of course, there’s always the potential for the housing market to slip from its current high demand, especially in areas such as the South East and London. This would cause a significant squeeze on wages for self-employed electricians, not to mention a long-term problem of a constant lack of affordable housing. 

Thankfully, the UK Government wants to build back better, as well as greener. In order to achieve that it’ll need more houses, it’ll need more infrastructure, and most of all, it’ll need more electricians. It’s about time to supercharge the electrical industry, as well as the country as a whole. Hopefully when that happens, we can finally put the pandemic behind us. 

This editorial originally appeared in the Electrical Review Newsletter dated February 18, 2021. To ensure you receive these editorials direct to your inbox, subscribe to the newsletter now.

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