Written by NextService
There’s no doubt that field service is in a state of flux. Field service technicians have seen the nature of their work undergo radical changes in the last five years, and that trend will continue. According to research from Bain & Company, 62% of technicians surveyed report their work has changed significantly in the last 3–5 years, and 93% expect to see even more remarkable transformation in the years ahead.
Why Field Service is Changing
Multiple forces are driving this change, but none more so than the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for services (especially those focused on the home) surged during the pandemic, and technicians faced new sanitation and social distancing requirements. Customer expectations also evolved as people expected seamless and speedy ways to get technicians on-site. In general, the pandemic raised the bar for technicians in ways that looked permanent.
Even before that, however, technology was changing the way technicians worked. Technology has streamlined the work that techs do, eliminating many of their most significant pain points while extending what they can accomplish. Laptops, smartphones, and other technology have replaced clipboards and paper forms. These tools enable technicians to access information and assistance in the field while having the data they collect automatically entered into digital systems. And these changes are just starting—the long-term impact of technology in the hands of technicians will be even greater than that of COVID.
Economic forces are also pushing field work in interesting new directions. The emergence of the “green economy” creates sweeping opportunities for new types of field service (solar panel installation, energy efficiency auditing, etc.) while obligating techs to minimize their environmental impact in the field. Massive new spending on infrastructure, along with the increasing integration of technology into home and office life, will further increase demand for field services while altering expectations along the way.
These forces challenge field service technicians to work differently and, in many cases, perform at a higher level than before. But that comes with benefits. As field service becomes advanced, meaningful, and impactful, technicians can expect increased demand for their skills and pay for their efforts. This may be a time of transformation, but it’s also the best time in history to be a field service technician.
Employment Outlook for Field Service Technicians
Many of the changes mentioned above are increasing the demand for more technicians and new kinds of technicians. At the same time, a wave of retirements among older employees, especially throughout the pandemic (but still ongoing), left many workforces with talent and skills gaps. As a result, field service providers will be recruiting and hiring briskly into the foreseeable future.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that demand in the U.S. for installation, maintenance, and repair occupations will grow by 5%, adding 304,000 new jobs each year between 2021 and 2031. Companies will also need replacements for retiring workers, pushing total hiring annually to 628,000. However, these may be conservative estimates because the BLS does not include emerging categories of field service like home automation or IoT technology installers or factor in less-skilled forms of field service like home cleaners and landscapers. Applying a broader definition of field service could push demand for workers much higher than the BLS estimates suggest.
So high that the demand exceeds the supply. Retirements in the field service industry have outpaced the pipeline of new talent. And as companies require techs to have different skills, particularly around digital technology, the pool of available talent shrinks even further. For field service providers, this creates a host of challenges related to workforce management. But for technicians with highly coveted skills and experience, it creates a golden opportunity to capitalize on them. Compensation is at an all-time high across field service sectors. And for some technicians, the pay looks quite impressive indeed.
10 High Paying Field Service Jobs
In the list below, we highlight ten lucrative field service jobs. These are not necessarily the highest-paying jobs because many highly specialized technicians command six-figure salaries for their narrow expertise. Instead, this is a list of high-paying field service jobs in industries with significant and, in most cases, growing demand for talent. Next to each title is the national median pay in 2021, followed by the state with the highest median wage according to the BLS. Remember that these totals can be much different based on location or specialization.
- Line Installers & Repairers – Median Wage – $74,530, Highest Wage – $104,480. People who service electrical power systems and telecom cables are paid well for their skill and for the dangerous risks they take. They are in high demand right now for laying fiber optic cables.
- Mobile Aircraft Mechanics – Median Wage – $65,550, Highest Wage – $84,240. Aircraft maintenance is non-negotiable, and mechanics willing to travel earn extra. Rising private plane ownership is creating more opportunities for these mechanics.
- Control and valve installers and repairers – Median Wage – $62,760, Highest Wage – $86,850. Technicians who service regulating and controlling devices – thermostats, electric meters, gas regulators, etc. – bring special skills into harsh environments, which is reflected in their pay. Expect those totals to increase sharply as these controls become more high-tech and complicated to service.
- Electronics Installers & Repairers – Median Wage – $61,760, Highest Wage – $112,760. In addition to solid pay, technicians with the skills to install and repair electrical systems can expect their skills to remain relevant for decades. Technicians in this space have massive potential to up-skill and specialize in increasing their earnings drastically.
- Telecommunications Equipment Installers & Repairers – Median Wage – $60,370, Highest Wage – $86,630. Given the vital nature of communications systems, it makes sense that the techs who keep them up and running earn competitive wages. This is a constantly evolving industry but rarely contracting, creating exciting advancement opportunities for ambitious techs.
- Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers – Median Wage – $60,360, Highest Wage -$94,740. The median pay for these techs reflects that the work involves significant travel, risk, and technical expertise. With few candidates qualified to fill these roles, current and future techs are in a competitive position.
- Industrial Machinery Mechanics – Median Wage – $59,380, Highest Wage – $78,780. Keeping industrial equipment up and running remains as crucial as ever, and good techs in this field have high wages. And with factories integrating a new generation of tech-enabled equipment, demand for techs and wage growth will stay high.
- Precision Instrument and Equipment Repairers – Median Wage – $57,670, Highest Wage – $81,000. Technicians capable of working on sensitive machines with high accuracy requirements can expect a salary that reflects their unique skills. As production processes demand higher standards for consistency and quality, calls for these technicians will increase.
- Wind Turbine Technicians – Median Wage – $56,260, Highest Wage – $99,570. Technicians installing and servicing wind turbines earn more as alternative energy sources are more important. More wind turbines mean even more opportunities for people willing and able to work on them.
- Mobile Equipment Service Technicians – Median Wage – $53,770, Highest Wage – $80,650. Even before COVID, more service providers offered “mobile” or “on-site” options and higher wages came with those travel requirements. Technicians willing to take their skills on the road have many companies eager to hire them.
Global and Future Outlook for Field Service Technicians
The numbers cited above relate to technicians in the U.S., but the outlook for field service technician employment looks similarly optimistic worldwide. The same forces driving up demand while holding back supply are in play in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. The talent shortage may worsen in Asia, where development (and the need for field service) is expanding rapidly. Wages may be higher or lower in some parts of the world, but technicians with in-demand skills can expect competitive compensation and abundant job opportunities everywhere. It’s a great time to be in field service, no matter where in the world the field may be.
By all indications, that will continue to be the case for years and decades. One estimate suggests the global skilled talent shortage will reach more than 85 million workers worldwide by 2030. Of course, not all of those will be in field service, but this stat suggests that demand for people with technical skills will far outpace supply until the end of the decade. That can only have one result for qualified technicians: higher pay and better opportunities. And for those technicians willing to undergo training and acquire new skills, the years ahead are a good time to rethink one’s career. The current trajectory looks good, but a few proactive steps could lead to massive increases in earnings throughout an entire career.
Field Service Management (FSM) Software – A Technician’s Most Important Tool
As we emphasized in the introduction, field service is undergoing significant change, much of it driven by technological advancements. The techs in the best position to get chosen for coveted positions and compensated at the top of the pay scale are adept at using technology and excited to use it to the fullest. Tech skills will be just as essential as other skills used during service delivery.
The promising outlook for field service technology looks even brighter for those with FSM software in their skill set. The one technology all technicians will need to master is field service management (FSM) software, a suite of tools to facilitate service delivery that techs can access in the field through a phone or laptop. Using FSM software effectively improves a technician’s performance, from safety to compliance to customer engagement. As a result, it makes that technician much more valuable to their employer than someone who resists or misuses FSM software. Instead, they should embrace the arrival of FSM software at their employer, look for employers that utilize it, and highlight their experience/expertise with the software when looking for work.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about TimeLinx PSM can help your service company. Contact us .
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.