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The HVAC Industry Is Growing Amid Workforce Challenges


The HVACR systems market was an $81.1 billion market as of 2015. According to the article, the market is expected to grow by 5.5 percent each year through 2020, making the HVACR market worth $130.7 billion by that time. Refrigeration is expected to be a major player in this growth, as the demand for food processing and cold storage expands. Booming construction markets are adding demand for contractors as the residential construction market is back, and economic activity is increasing, expanding the need for residential and commercial HVAC services.

Despite projected industry growth, the HVACR industry is expecting to see a talent shortage of over 138,000 employees by 2022! Why do these worker shortages exist? One reason is that the HVACR industry is growing fast. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 21 percent increase in HVACR mechanic and installer jobs through 2022, nearly twice the projected growth of overall employment. Another is that many HVACR workers will soon leave the workforce: The U.S. Social Security Administration estimates that 22 percent of the nation’s overall workforce will retire by 2022. Statistics show one new HVACR worker for every four retiring. Another reason for the lack of technical workers is that bright, ambitious, young people think of the trades as a lesser calling compared to the more popular career paths, such as computer programming, application design, investment banking, etc. High schools do not encourage the trades and students believe the trades do not offer sexy and glamorous careers.

The rapid growth of the HVACR industry, combined with the high number of workers retiring, and the small amount of new graduates creates a huge problem for both the public and HVACR contractors alike. This gap could leave homeowners, hospitals, schools, and virtually any building with heating, air conditioning, hot water or refrigeration lacking service for installation, maintenance or retrofitting. Contractors won’t be able to keep up with the demand for service creating intense competition, unhappy customers, and lost revenue.

According to industry professionals, the key to overcoming the talent shortage is to continue encouraging contractors and educational associations to work together to:

  1. Attract new young talent by promoting the HVACR industry

  2. Create clear credentials and/or accreditation programs

  3. Retain and train new instructors

  4. Improve recruitment practices

  5. Recruit more women and minorities into HVACR training programs

  6. 6. Implement the latest field service technologies to attract new talent and keep current staff happy

With contractors and educational associations working together to resolve the skill shortage, the future looks bright for HVAC service companies. Construction activity is forecast to increase in both residential and nonresidential markets. Corporate profit and per capita disposable income will also enable businesses and homeowners to upgrade their existing HVAC systems. The federal and state governments will continue to incentivize the move toward more energy-efficient systems via tax credits, supporting industry growth. Looks like a great time to be in the HVAC-R industry!

Contact FIELDBOSS and learn how our comprehensive field service management software can help your HVACR Company keep up with the fast-paced industry growth

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