Being a 32-year-old electrician myself, I want to touch on this subject of retirement for obvious and selfish reasons. I have often wondered how long I will be able to work in this trade before “the golden years” arrive (with the chance of being physically worn out over the years and all). I’ve worked with electricians in their 60s who were mentally and physically more than ready to retire.
However, I’ve also met electricians exceeding the typical retirement age, who are even more-so energetic and physically thriving than younger colleagues. To answer the question “at what age do most electricians retire”, I have collected data from one of the few but valid statistics on this topic, gathered by researchers Philip Sauré and Hosny Zoabi
Electricians have previously been shown to retire on average at the age of 59.9 years old. The average age of retirement for electricians is being calculated mostly with data from the United States while also cross-referencing the U.S. numbers with retirement statistics from 38 different countries.
It has proven to be extremely difficult to answer this question accurately, without turning to scientifically unreliable sources like Reddit or similar anecdotal forums. It is also important to mention, that the provided retirement-data stem from electricians reporting “not in the labor force” in the years from 1990 to 2010.
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According to the OECD, the average retirement age seems, across all countries and professions, to be continually rising. The state of this development, plus a general improvement of safety conditions for workers in the trades, means that current working electricians should also be expected to retire later than at 59.9 years old. So, at what age should current working electricians expect to arrive at the golden years? In this next section of the article, I have gathered some data to bring forth a careful guess on this topic.
At What Age Should Current Electricians Expect to Retire?
This should be fun. With the limited data available at hand, and a somewhat unexplored territory specifically related to electricians, I’ll have to compare multiple research results to answer this question in a reasonable manner. If you want a quick answer to this question, the following is my own conclusion. For further explanation, I welcome thee to dive deep with me in the next paragraph.
Electricians who joined the workforce in 2018 should expect to retire at an age of 62.6. Upon doing an analysis of the expected retirement age of electricians compared to all other professions, these were the results I found to be statistically viable from official sources (OECD) while also being backed up by research on this topic.
As retirement obviously is a future event that happens to most of us, we have to make some kind of prediction as to what will happen. And we all have different circumstances and features that make us unique in terms of what the future will bring. With the cross-country analysis by Sauré and Zoabi, we have already established that electricians previously have been shown to retire at the age of 59.9. These are the averages of 58 observations of electricians retiring in the 20 year period from 1990 to 2010.
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Indicators from OECD and G20, are showing, that a 22-year-old who entered the workforce in the U.S. in 2018 should expect to retire at an age of 67.9. These are numbers being calculated as an average across all professions, and as such doesn’t tell us much about electricians specifically. To get a further understanding of the issue at hand, here is the general difference in retirement age of all professions and electricians.
|Group||Average Age of Retirement (1990 – 2010)|
As shown in this table, electricians (in the control group of 58 of Sauré and Zoabi’s research) retired 5.3 years earlier when compared to all professions. People who entered the workforce in 2018 should expect to retire at an age of 67.9 – or an increase from 2010 to 2018 of 2.7 years.
Alright. So, now we got that data sorted out. (yes, I’m going in way over my head, but I think we might be on to something here). To find the approximate retirement age of current working electricians (who started out in 2018), we should in theory be able to use the same increase of 2.7 years. And as such, an electrician who started out in 2018 at age 22 should expect to retire at an average age of 62.6.
My Thoughts On the Early Retirement Age of Elecricians
Electricians have a physically demanding jobs. This can lead to physical breakdown over the years. And obviously, 65-year-old electricians don’t have the same athletic abilities as a 20 some-year-old. And so, it is not as easy to climb around ladders and scaffoldings at 06.00 AM on a cold winter morning, as it once was. In my own case, being only 32 years old, I am already noticing some chances in energy compared to my earlier years. However, I’ve always been physically active, and I do my part in the gym while also stretching after particularly hard workdays.
Working as electricians, we have many career advancement opportunities and therefore also a chance of minimizing the physical workload as we get older. It seems to me, that a majority of the younger guys (16 to 40 years old) are doing the main hard physical labor. And I also see older guys, who have been many years in the electrical trade, shifting over to more supervisory roles. However, as mentioned in the introduction, I’ve met and worked with electricians in their 60’s putting younger guys to shame in both their energy and physical ability.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to how much you enjoy your work. I oftentime think back to when I worked in an office, and everyday was a mental struggle to just get out of bed. And the thought of spending the rest of my days in an office environment made me choose to become a worker in the trades. And oh man, I’m glad I did! The other day I sat on a tool box, reflecting back on the workday. It had been a tough assignment of replacing ceiling lights at a dirty train station. Sure it was somewhat hard, however I was also filled with a weird feeling of accomplishment, which I’ve never felt in an office. I had actually done something in the real world, that will help the mechanics working in the train station. That feeling is one of the key reasons why I enjoy working as an electrician. Added to that, my experiences from working in an office (and other soul crushing jobs) are motivating me further to continue with this job. And as such I hope to work as an electrician all the way until retirement at possibly 62.6 years old.