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The positive spark

Focusing on the potential business opportunities after COVID

A new report by EuropeOn has taken a constructive look at COVID-19, focusing on the possible business opportunities for electrical contractors and how they can bounce back, improve profitability and be at the forefront of a green and digital recovery

The current COVID-19 pandemic could well be the most important phenomenon of this century. It is generating lasting and deep changes in all countries, from the way citizens interact with each other to their hopes for tomorrow’s world, from the relevance of some jobs to remote working dynamics, and from travelling to education and so on.

In contrast with a general feeling of worrying uncertainty, EuropeOn has adopted a positive outlook on the current situation, focusing on what can be done to improve business opportunities and up electrical contractors’ game.

With 1.8 million professionals across Europe and 300,000 companies, electrical contractors are well placed to make a valuable contribution to recovery strategies. We have now outlined these strategies in our new report, Business Opportunities Since Covid-19: Electrical Contractors at the Forefront of a Green and Digital Recovery for Europe.

Our starting point was to identify some of the major preoccupations expressed by society since COVID-19. To do this, we singled out three priorities:

  • Mitigating climate change with a green recovery

  • Improving indoor life quality

  • Transforming ways of working.

For each of these priorities, we explained how electrical contractors can make a difference while expanding their business as follows.

Mitigating climate change with a green recovery

Many recent polls show that ecological concerns have risen more than ever in 2020. Elections in several EU countries were characterised by a surge in ‘green’ votes, while sales of electric vehicles (EVs), solar panels and energy-efficient heat pumps have risen considerably. Many voices have echoed the need to restart our economy on greener grounds and the UK Government itself is calling for a “green recovery”.

Electrical contractors must be ready for this green transition, keeping in mind that first movers will reap most of the benefits. A prerequisite is to be able to install and operate technologies such as solar panels, EV charging points, integrated battery storages or smart meters.

But this is not all – we must shift from a ‘product’ to a ‘service’ approach.

Electrical contractors are best positioned in the value chain to advise clients on a series of upgrades that they can do in homes and businesses to save energy, foster circularity, improve predictive maintenance and so on.

Contractors should also be able to explain the new support schemes that public authorities are implementing in the field of energy transition. Such expertise has a cost and if we do not take the lead, others eventually will.

Improving indoor life quality

Successive lockdowns and curfews imply that we spend more time at home. Altogether, this situation exacerbated citizens’ need of ‘feeling good at home’.

In order to work, study or simply stay at home in the most comfortable way, it is more essential than ever to rely on enough light and a good supply of energy, ventilation, heating and excellent connectivity. Upgrading one’s house can also be viewed as a safe investment in current times.

Here again, electrical contractors can bring value to their client by proactively presenting to them a wide range of solutions to upgrade their indoor life quality.

“With this report, we hope to trigger a reflection on how electrical contractors can up their game”

It is also important to communicate to clients that electrical contractors know how to work under COVID-19 rules, thanks to clear guidance.

Indoor life quality is not limited to houses. Indeed, we still need to go to office and public buildings from time to time. In order to do it in a safe way and reduce the risk of contamination, electrical contractors can propose contactless technologies such as automatic lighting and heating systems, hands-free taps and toilets and automatic doors.

Transforming our ways of working

One of the obvious new trends is the fast digitalisation of working dynamics. But why does this matter to electrical contractors?

Firstly, many contractors are involved in fibre-optic and data installation. Connectivity is key for remote working and with many prejudices against digitalisation now being vanquished, this will convince clients to equip themselves with digital devices in offices or even at home.

Second, looking at electrical contractors’ businesses, they have also had to take a leap and embrace digitalisation, for example using social networks to advertise their services and planning digital instead of face-to-face meetings with worksite partners.

At EuropeOn, we also believe that digitalisation can foster cooperation. In the past few months, we might not have been able to meet, but we have maintained contact via digital tools.

In this regard, we have been very impressed by the collaborative and successful work done by the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum, of which SELECT is a leading member. In addition, many trade organisations, including SELECT, have developed e-learning to ensure that professionals keep up-skilling.

All in all, EuropeOn’s report showcases six main areas of business opportunities for electrical contractors, with national and local examples. While we focused our reflection on positive opportunities, we also identified areas of vigilance, such as shortages in the workforce and a drop in new orders. Finally, we expressed a series of asks for policymakers to support a job-driven recovery.

With this report, we hope to trigger a reflection on how electrical contractors can up their game. Looking for new or rising business opportunities is crucial and so is getting closer to clients and decision-makers. We also need to broaden our hard and soft skills and become more attractive to young professionals.

With thanks to Julie Beaufils and the EuropeOn Executive Group.

Download and read a digital copy of the EuropeOn report here.

Martin Bailey

Vice-President, EuropeOn


Electrical contractors at the forefront of a green and digital recovery for Europe


A voice in Europe

EuropeOn is the European electrical contractors’ association, of which SELECT is a member. Comprised of associations from 12 European countries, its overall objectives are to exchange best practice and strengthen electrical contractors’ profile across Europe. Find out more at

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