FALLS CHURCH, VA--The Electronic Systems Professional Alliance (ESPA) announced the results of the industry’s first-ever survey of electronics systems technicians (ESTs) and their views of their careers and training.
With more than 450 respondents across a wide variety of EST fields (audio, video, networking, IT, cable, satellite, lighting, home control, alarm and telecom), the survey shows that technicians often have very long careers in the electronics industry. More than half of the respondents (58 percent) had been in electronics for more than 10 years, with another 18 percent being in the industry from 5 to 9 years. The respondent pool was split 64/36 in terms of technicians focused primarily on residential projects versus commercial projects.
“This survey reached out to experienced technicians to tell us how they were trained and how employers should help the next wave of employees,” said Grant Mydland, executive director of ESPA. “ESTs are a highly knowledgeable group – 87 percent of respondents had completed some college coursework, with more than a third (35 percent) of all respondents having obtained a bachelors, masters or doctorate degree. Plus, 92 percent had participated in some training or certification related to their current jobs.”
Approximately half (51 percent) of respondents started in the field because they had a personal interest in electronics. ESPA theorized that these senior-level technicians most likely had their personal interests nurtured by the dot.com boom, greater awareness of the “Mission to the Moon” era, and electronics courses that use to be more available but have been abandoned in many schools in the last decade.
Another 24 percent joined the field because they like the variety and challenge the industry provides. When asked why they stay in the industry, an overwhelming 76 percent said they’re interested in and/or love the work they do. Respondents also liked how the industry provides opportunities for them to be challenged. Compensation and job stability mattered to a fourth of the respondents but ranked much farther down the list than the work itself.
Despite the soft economy, the job market for ESTs has remained fairly even: 39 percent of respondents say their companies have the same number of technicians as a year ago, 28 percent say they have more technicians, and 26 percent say they have fewer technicians.
Most technicians are also satisfied with their jobs with 83 percent claiming to be “somewhat or very satisfied” with their current position. Training opportunities were cited by 69 percent of the respondents as somewhat or very important to their job satisfaction.
In fact, 62 percent of respondents said they think that low-voltage certification/licensing should be required for their work, yet 70 percent of employers and jurisdictions don’t require any kind of low-voltage certification/licensing.