Our industry needs roughly 400,000 technicians and installers to operate at normal capacity. This number has been fairly consistent for more than 30 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the HVAC industry is short one in four technicians. In other words, we’re only employing roughly 300,000.
If we don’t do something meaningful soon, one out of two HVAC field technician positions will remain unfilled by 2027. That’s 200,000 out of 400,000 unfilled positions!
Just think about the damage that could do to our industry, not to mention the impact on consumers. So what can we do about it?
A Different Message
If we are to attract good talent to our industry, we must paint a very different picture than that of a technician or installer sweating it out twisting wrenches and pounding metal.
We need to provide a vibrant image of diagnosticians who use sophisticated instruments and software to diagnose and solve problems. That means showing potential installers how they won’t just be laborers in the trade, rather craftsmen who understand how systems really work.
We must demonstrate how the technician is responsible for properly servicing and installing equipment, and improving air distribution systems with measured, proven results.That means showing potential candidates the sexy side of HVAC, and how they can build a lifetime career that is both financially and professionally rewarding.
These new technologies are available today, not five years from now. It is up to serious contractors to make them part of their company culture. This will make it easy to share the vision and mission with people considering an HVAC career.
Retaining Our Existing Base
One of the keys to keep us from losing roughly 100,000 technicians in the next five years is to find ways to stop them from wanting to leave. Some will just age out, of course, so we also must focus on bringing new talent into the industry.
The three keys to retaining good people are providing a real career path, paying them well, and continuously training them. We also must have the flexibility to provide a better work/life balance. This is a common desire, especially among younger generations.
This flexibility will require different thinking in terms of scheduling while still being able to respond to customer needs. It will be easier for mid-size to larger companies as they have a bigger pool to pull from to cover for more flexible work schedules. Smaller companies will have to be more creative to maintain flexibility.
Create REAL Career Paths
How do you create and communicate that you are an attractive option to existing and potential employees?
First take at look at the existing positions in your company. Take some time to illustrate each position, both in words and visually.
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