How the HVAC Industry is Tackling the Growing Labor Shortage

November 26, 2018
4 min read

The HVAC industry’s labor shortage is growing at an exponential rate. The shrinking skills gap in the HVAC industry did not just suddenly appear. For more than a decade, the lack of qualified technicians has been a growing problem in the U.S. Statistics show that 25% of the workforce will be of retirement age by 2020. At the same time, the industry will see a 15% growth in the number of jobs created, which is more than double the  average growth rate for all occupations. So how is the HVAC industry tackling the growing labour shortage?

1. The EGIA has developed a study entitled Bridging the HVAC Employment Gap.

The EGIA has taken on the challenge of reversing the misconceptions of the HVACR industry, created by outsiders, in order to develop a sustainable workforce for coming generations.

The EGIA Foundation wanted to understand why young professionals, specifically those born in or after 1997, were not pursuing jobs in the trades. The goal of the study was to address the questions: How can the industry take ownership of its image from those who view HVAC as a “lesser” career choice? What is the best way to reach post-millennials who are not aware of the opportunities HAVC provides? How can equipment manufacturers, educators, and contractors assist in engagement and development of those in coming generations?

The study found that:

Ultimately, in order to change its destiny, the HVAC industry will need to change the way outsiders perceive them. For too long, the image of a career in trades has been a terrible cliché. HVAC contractors are professionals in a highly technical field who work to preserve livelihoods, structures, and the environment.  Those involved in the industry must take advantage of every opportunity to highlight who they are, what they do, and how they do it.

The EGIA Foundation was created to help:

  1. Drive greater awareness within the general public about trade careers and the work entailed through a national outreach campaign
  2. Build a coalition of industry partners and like-minded stakeholders to define and support the positioning of HVAC in a positive light
  3. Facilitate mentorship, guidance, and internship opportunities between HVAC companies and students
  4. Connect contractors with HVAC program graduates looking for entry-level employment

Read the study here.

2. HARDI’s Documentary, Hot Commodity, aims to showcase HVACR Industry

Hot Commodity, a workforce recruitment documentary produced by the Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), has a lot to say about the younger generation pursuing a career in the HVACR industry. It also aims to raise awareness of the nationwide skilled trades worker shortage.

The documentary aims to bring awareness of the HVACR and distribution industries to younger demographics (ages 16-26) as a tool for recruitment. It speaks to how important finding young talent is as well as the opportunities that are out there for these people and why success doesn’t always have to involve a college degree.

HARDI wanted to use storytelling to help tackle the issue that has plagued their industry members: talent and workforce recruitment. Through storytelling, they hope to  make the younger generation curious to learn more about all the opportunities available to them within the HVACR industry. After all, millennials are a demographic that seems willing to learn about any and all things if there is some sort of entertainment value involved.

The film aims to battle the stigma that has become associated with the industry. Hot Commodity will showcase the younger generation of workers in the industry: how they got into the industry, what obstacles they faced, how their lives have turned out thus far, and what their potential career paths look like moving forward.

“Hot Commodity” will debut at the annual HARDI conference in December.

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