Gender Wage Gap

When it comes to the gender wage gap, the uncontrolled gap truly represents: women are less likely to hold high-level, high paying jobs than men. PayScale, a leading compensation research company, shows at the start of their careers, men and women tend to work at similar job levels, most often entering the workforce at the individual contributor level: 72 percent of men and 74 percent of women in the age group 20-29 are in individual contributor roles. Over the course of their career, men move into higher level roles at significantly higher rates than women. By mid-career (age range 30-44), men are 70 percent more likely to be in VP or C-suite roles than women. By late career (age 45+), men are 142 percent more likely to be in these higher paying roles. On the flip side, women are more likely than men to remain in individual contributor positions over the course of their careers. By mid-career, 60 percent of women are in individual contributor positions vs. 52 percent of men. By late career, 59 percent of women are still in individual contributor positions vs. 43 percent of men.

When you dig deeper into the wage gap data, you find that while women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men…African American women and Latinas fare much worse, being paid 64 cents and 55 cents respectively for every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men. What I’ve found, at least in electrical distribution, the largest pay increases go to women, so maybe we’re doing something right as an industry.

Prudence Thompson is a contingent and retained recruiter entirely dedicated to the Electrical Distribution industry. To learn more about how she can help your company attract talent, check out her biographyLinkedIn profile or email her at

Emerging Lighting Professionals: Marketable Skills and Qualities

In my previous blog, I discussed the positions lighting companies are looking­­ to hire emerging professionals for and their concerns related to hiring emerging professionals. Now I’ll address the skills and qualities they are looking for in emerging professionals.

The 5 most common skills companies seek are:

1. Computer skills. This includes MS Office and Adobe, as well as AutoCAD, Revit and AGi32. Revit is a newer skill but is rapidly becoming a requirement in design firms and very few mid to senior level people have experience with it, so that will set you apart.

2. Strong communication skills; both verbal and written. Before sending a text and/or email, reread what you wrote to ensure it makes sense, there are no typos or inaccurate autocorrects, words are in correct tenses, etc. Before a phone call/interview or voicemail, think about what you are going to say; write it out and rehearse it.

3. Ability to problem solve and look for solutions. When a problem occurs, you should research and devise possible solutions to discuss with your manager, rather than simply stating the problem.

4. Organizational skills.

5. Listening skills. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason, listen twice as much as you are talking. If you are the only one talking, you’ll never learn.

Take classes at your local community college or online to acquire any of these skills. There are many books on these subjects as well. I recommend joining your local toastmasters to improve communication and leadership skills.

Top 5 qualities companies are looking for in emerging professionals are:

1. Willingness to learn and adapt. The biggest pieces of advice I can give are: to learn and always be curious (ABC!). Lighting is everywhere, study the fixtures and manufacturers! Look at objects like fabric or fruit under different lighting sources; ask: how does different lighting affect the objects appearance? In which stores do they look better or more appealing? Don’t be afraid to ask questions of why things are done a certain way to gain understanding. Go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and compare all the lighting fixtures and light bulbs; their quality, their capabilities. Tinker with lightbulbs and fixtures; understand how they go together and what components are in them. Subscribe to and read industry magazines: LD+A, enLIGHTenment, tED, etc. to learn about the latest trends in lighting or technology improvements or what issues are affecting the industry. And read other sources like Electrical Wholesaling to learn how lighting interfaces with all aspects of a building and the different buying influences. Relight your home/apartment every so often; how does the new lighting make you feel, affect your mood, etc. Go to plays and art museums and pay attention to the lighting, how does it affect the mood or scene. As I mentioned earlier, learn new technologies like Revit. Take IES courses or attend a local community college; one class mentioned in the survey was the IES ED-100: Lighting Education Fundamentals course. Once you have 3 years of experience, study for and take the LC exam through the NCQLP. Read books or take classes on organizational development, critical thinking, public speaking, personal finance, research methods, etc. Study the science of light and color; read research papers on how lighting affects human health or the production of crops or animals, etc.

2. Work hard and pay your dues. There is a common misconception that millennials are not hard workers and surely an exaggeration, but this is what you’re up against and you need to prove them wrong! I suggest you read Mindset by Carol Dweck. It discusses how people have either a fixed mindset (which leads to entitlement) or a growth mindset. The fixed mindset is believing people are born with an innate talent for something; you’re either good at that thing or not. The growth mindset believes we are constantly learning and growing; and with practice, we can improve. The point is: work hard! Dr. John Townsend, author of Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way, says we have to change the conversation in our head from “I deserve” to “I am responsible for”. For example: “I deserve a promotion. I’m going to wait until someone gives me the promotion I deserve.” Change that to: “I’m responsible for my work ethic and the quality of my work. I’m responsible for executing my job responsibilities with excellence every day. I’m responsible for informing management of my career aspirations. I’m responsible for building the skills necessary for promotion.” There is this underlying theme that failure isn’t a bad thing, it’s an opportunity to learn. Michael Jordan said: “failure makes me work harder” and “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” After a failure or set back ask yourself: what did you do to contribute to this? And what could you have done differently?

3. Sense of design. If you haven’t already, pursue a Bachelors or Masters degree in Design, such as architectural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering (depending on your interests). Outside of education learn design on your own time. Take up photography, art, drawing, etc. Build a side project, volunteer, there’s lots of ways to gain new skills beyond the 8 to 5!

4. Passion / interest in the industry. Get involved! Network with people in the industry, go to events like Lightfair, LED Specifier Summit, LEDucation, etc. Review the products. Ask manufacturers questions; tell them you are new to the industry and would like to know about their products, their best applications and how they are made, what components did they use and why, etc. Talk to people you’ve never talked to before, ask them questions about how they got into the industry, what do they love about the industry, what advice do they have for you as you begin your career? Join organizations like IES and IALD. Volunteer for a local play or theater to help with lighting. And again, go to plays and museums, and study lighting.

5. Be honest and trustworthy. You don’t have to remember what you said if you’re always telling the truth! Your actions should match your words, if you say you are going to do something, do it. Set specific goals with a time and place that you will get it done. For example, if you want to send your resume to 10 companies next week, set a goal that you will be at your desk on Wednesday just after breakfast sending them out; and visualize it so it sets in your memory. Be transparent, if you are having a hard time meeting a deadline talk to the people involved about the circumstances and discuss how you can either fix it or adjust the deadline. Be kind and considerate of your colleagues; try seeing things from their perspective. Avoid gossip and keep secrets.

If you haven’t already, read the first blog HERE on what positions lighting design companies are hiring for and their concerns with hiring emerging professionals. Stay tuned for the last blog on advice to emerging professionals.



Brooke Ziolo is a contingent and retained executive recruiter working exclusively within the Lighting Industry. To learn more about how she can help your Lighting company, LED company or Lighting Design Firm attract talent, check out her biographyLinkedIn profile or email her at

3 interview points you might be missing, if you have not received any job offers

Sometimes you interview for jobs but you don’t get an offer without really knowing why. You want to bang your head on the desk. Make sure you are preparing yourself for interviews by:

1. Thinking about what you are asking or not asking. Asking about benefits and salary in the first interview can turn off some interviewers. Do your homework on the company, so you can prepare good, relevant questions. Some questions to consider are: what do you like most about working here, what are some of the challenges, what would be my main projects to focus on in the first year, and/or what is a typical day?

2. Checking your interview skills. Role play with a friend, preferably with someone who has experience hiring and interviewing. Pick a real job posting for the mock interview. Ask for the overall impression of yourself as a candidate and what could you have done better?

3. Following up. Write a thank you note to the interviewers post-interview, sending via email is fine. Quickly complete tests sent to you, within 24-48 hours of receiving; this shows urgency and how interested you are in the position. If you cannot finish the test within that time frame, send the interviewer/company an email explaining why you can’t finish it and when it’ll be completed.

If you are doing all these things, don’t give up, it might not be you. Organizations lose funding for positions, internal candidates are hired, and there might be a stronger candidate. Hang in there the right job is out there – happy hunting.


Pati Kelly is a contingent and retained recruiter exclusive to the electrical industry with a specialty in Wire and Cable. To learn more about how she can help your company identify and attract talent, check out her biography, view her LinkedIn profile or send her an email at


Arne Jacobsen, a famous architect from Denmark, who was noted for avant-garde designs in architecture and objects that ranged from flatware to chairs, was asked for the secret to good design and his response was…“one word: ‘proportion’”. The immediate thought is to assume his response is best characterized by various mathematical approaches to proportions of sizes; e.g. Golden Ratio for cabinet makers, Floor Area Ratios, etc. But his response was far broader; that architecture incorporates the right proportion of old versus new materials, and balance of cold materials like steel or stone and warm materials like brick and fabrics. It includes the balance of how the space is used and the proportion of space dedicated to various functions and the needs of occupants…all balanced in proportion.

Proportion then becomes a philosophy.

We balance our daily lives by activity, performance metrics and achievements; or shortcomings.

We balance personal lives and work lives. Our balance between partners and children, home and church or charitable activities.

We find ourselves challenged more and more by the external events in our lives, that threaten our sense of proportion.

Facts versus lies.

Violence out of proportion to our natural expectations of social behavior.

The rise of the ‘isms’: racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, ageism, sexism.

Tragic storms have reminded us of how briefly we tread on this Earth and how fragile the Earth is.

We’re inundated with the bad news; the polarization of ‘opinions’ that belittle those who don’t share the same opinion. We assume we can’t fix fake news, the rise of stronger storms or increased gun violence.

Solutions come from togetherness and thankfulness; not from silos and finger pointing.

Our proportion has been disturbed.

In a few weeks, we will celebrate a holiday that is uniquely American. Thanksgiving, where we collectively give pause and give thanks for just how lucky we are to have what we have.

There is nothing in the underlying code of Thanksgiving that says we can’t start that celebration a little early.

Let’s get our proportion back.

On behalf of Egret…thank you for 19 years of our success. We strive to be open and honest in everything we do, with the goal of helping our clients grow their companies.

Let’s all take a moment to say thanks; thanks for the opportunity to be alive and believe in a brighter future for everybody…all ‘isms’ included.

A special thanks to Dan Wheeler, AIA of Wheeler Kearn Architects for his eloquent explanation of Proportion.

professional recruiter electrical industry ted konnerth

Ted Konnerth, Egret Consulting Group’s founder and CEO, recruits on a retained basis, helping leaders in the electrical and lighting industry identify their next C and V-level hire. Ted also manages Egret’s Consulting Services division, assisting clients with Organizational strategy, Channel strategy and Succession planning. To learn how Ted can help your company view his biography, check him out on LinkedIn or email him at