If you’re struggling to get people to fill the vital roles in your business, then you are not alone. The younger generation is not attracted to the HVAC industry.
“53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. are 45 years old or older, and 18.6 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64” – Jon Hirsch, Director of business development, Auer Steel & Heating Supply Co. Inc.
Please Mind The (skills) Gap.
The HVAC industry skill gap is estimated to grow to 15% by 2026. Plus, with more than 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day how can you store their knowledge and inspire the next generation without falling behind the competition?
It’s a blue-collar apocalypse that is threatening the HVAC industry across the board, the kind of jobs that are the lifeblood of HVAC and the backbone of the US economy.
As further proof of this, The World Economic Forum reported that only 16% of millennials work in the manufacturing industry. With an estimation of this needing to rise to 50% within the next five years to keep up with demand. These statistics demonstrate the endemic problem facing the HVAC industry as well.
So, what can be done to pass on valuable expertise and keep your business growing?
The answer: Technology.
Integrating new technology into your business is key to bridging the gap between existing methods and being an appealing option for younger workers. An example of this is preventative maintenance technology and mobile diagnostic tools that can be accessed on-site and guide less experienced workers. These can maximize the existing talent pool within and encourage younger workers who are seeking a more digital role.
So, what is it? Tech-no and watch your talent pool dry up? Or Tech-yes and future proof your competitive edge with ground-breaking software?
Obviously, it’s the latter. You need to align your business model with the ‘technology-driven lifestyle’ of your future employees.
As with similar manual labour and perceived blue-collar skills industries such as construction, the key to attracting millennials into the HVAC industry is by using technology throughout the company. This starts with the most basic communication methods such as using social media to attract applicants and continues with the recruitment process, technical training, interactive assessments, on the job cutting edge equipment and an overhaul of existing processes to reflect the dynamic, digitally fluent future millennials expect to work in.
And, I know… that is a lot to consider. Especially if technology isn’t your specialism. But, that’s exactly why you need to inject new lifeblood into your business. You need to ensure that you don’t just hang onto the coattails of industry developments but forge the way.
As the average millennial isn’t afraid to look for employment elsewhere if a company isn’t looking after them. To avoid a churn of staff, recruitment needs to switch focus from traditional demands such as extensive experience and hire and train candidates that best suit the company environment and ethos. Millennials who align with a company’s long-term political, environmental and business development are much more likely to stay the course.
If you can attract the right talent, the opportunities are vast as the global HVAC business is on the up. The Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International group (HARDI) recently reported a 19.8% increase in sales for their members. Whilst the overall growth of the Heating & Air Conditioning Wholesaling market is set to continue a steady growth rate until 2023 and at a higher than US GDP of 2.1% according to researching giant IBISWorld.
With a healthy industry outlook, and a raft of new additions to your workforce, how can you gain and maintain a competitive edge?
Business Intelligence (BI) software, such as sales-i, can give you the head start you need to become the first choice in a crowded market. With the right technology, you can tap into the market trends of your customers. For example, by comparing each customer’s spend against market averages to know where new opportunities lie.
Companies such as APCO Inc’s Michigan Temperature Supply are already seeing the benefit of sales-i to grow their business. Can you afford not to talk to us about how we can help you?
Want to learn more about sales-i? Watch our short video here.