If you’re going to invest in career training, you probably want the prospects of getting a job in that field afterward to be pretty good. Perks like healthcare, retirement, paid vacation, career advancement and a healthy company culture would be nice too, right?
Well, there’s one industry where employers are struggling so hard to find workers with the right skills that they’re offering many of these benefits: HVAC service and repair.1
Why? Because there aren’t enough qualified HVAC technicians.1
Get the details on why the skilled labor shortage could mean career opportunities for workers with the right mix of HVAC training, experience and skills.1
How Big Is the HVAC Technician Shortage?
HVAC Technician Shortage
In the U.S., 80,000 jobs for HVAC technicians sit unfilled, asserted Rob Falke, president of the National Comfort Institute, at the 2020 AHR Expo last February. At the same time, he went on, the industry is losing 20,000 technicians a year due to retirements and career changes. At that rate, he calculated, the field could be short another 100,000 technicians in five years.1
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But what about COVID-19? Has the situation changed since the pandemic put tens of millions of Americans out of work?
Perhaps not. That’s because HVAC technicians are considered essential workers. The federal government classified them among the workforce necessary to keep the national critical infrastructure operating during the pandemic. Plumbers, electricians, refrigeration technicians and other construction and manufacturing workers also made the list.
Then there’s this: rehiring and retraining skilled workers can be expensive. Employers in the manufacturing and construction industries could hold off on laying off workers, indicate economists.
In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey deemed the construction industry essential, allowing many companies to keep operating during the pandemic, though, with a greater focus on worker safety. Now, many contractors there think the construction industry will lead Arizona’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The construction industry, specifically building equipment contractors, is the top employer of HVAC technicians. And the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale region is one of the metro areas with the highest employment levels for HVAC techs.
As for job prospects throughout the rest of the U.S.? The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 5% growth through 2030, much faster than average.2
What Kind of Opportunities Has the Shortage Created for HVAC Technicians?
While it’s too early to tell how much the pandemic has impacted the HVAC technician shortage, it’s likely there’ll be jobs based on the labor department’s job growth projections and their status as essential workers.
What about the other opportunities?
Here’s how HVAC contractors said they were attracting top talent in February 2020:1
- Giving signing bonuses.
- Training technicians and giving them advancement opportunities.
- Scheduling techs to allow for work-life balance.
- Defining HVAC career paths and how they can be achieved.
- Offering flexible hours so techs could meet family obligations and personal needs.
- Allowing workers to define success and committing to help them reach their goals.
- Promising equal commitment and accountability by both parties.1
Implementing processes to attract and keep HVAC technicians can take time. Building a healthy company culture probably doesn’t happen overnight. It’s hard to imagine HVAC contractors jettisoning practices that may have taken years to develop in a matter of months.
Seize Career Opportunities in HVAC Service and Repair
The world’s changed a lot in 2020. But one thing remains the same: people need their A/C. Their heat. Their refrigeration.
It’s essential. And so are the professionals keeping it running.
*According to BLS data Arizona employed 13,650 Electricians (47-2111) through May 2020 http://data.bls.gov/oes
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