Plumber Job Shortage: A Looming Concern
Installing and maintaining plumbing systems for your residential or commercial plumbing needs is an occupation that requires extreme focus and dedication. Unfortunately, there seems to be an insufficient pool of qualified workers in the field. Studies show that despite the growing need for Plumbers, there are fewer men and women entering the workforce.
So, water taps around town continue to drip.
Even with new residential and commercial construction on the horizon, the plumbing profession shortage looms. Stricter water efficiency standards are calling for more Plumbers, and they’re simply not answering.
With a shortage in the trade industry as a whole—and plumbing as no exception, it may be difficult to find qualified professional services that can help. You want to trust that your selected Plumber will arrive at your door or business when they say they will and that they’ll do the job right—the first time.
Why Is There Such A Shortage In Plumbers?
Retiring skilled workers
Many experienced professionals are at the age when they’re ready to retire. In fact, over half of America’s skilled trade employees are nearing retirement age. While good, seasoned Plumbers are still available, the best workers are becoming more and more extinct. Fewer men and women are raising their hands to take their place.
Lack of knowledge in technology and advanced equipment
It’s never been as important as now to understand the complexities of plumbing. No longer do we think of a wrench and a flashlight when we think of plumbing as a profession. To stay current within industry standards, Plumbers are working with elite computers and equipment that require more than just an expert eye and a dish towel.
There are many factors that make up the complexities of plumbing; installation codes vary, piping materials change, and walls have great plaster variances. And, what if your selected Plumber is tasked to fix someone else’s plumbing error? All of these factors can pose a huge challenge to an inexperience workmen, not to mention YOU—the customer.
With plumbing needs evolving rapidly and up-to-date technology and video software becoming increasingly available, it’s vital that you have the right person for the job. If workers lack proper training, it’s no wonder qualified Plumbers become rare. But, what’s even more vital—especially with older homes requiring keen attention to detail—that plumbing companies keep up with the changing times.
School programs are not available
Lack of funding is to blame for training opportunities. Years ago, boys and girls were introduced to the trades industry and trained for apprenticeship opportunities through their school’s direct educational programs. Today, special high school programs and vocational or trade schools are scarce to aspiring students who want a career in the trades.
Career choice and perceived stigma
Craftsmen from the 60‘s, 70‘s or 80‘s grew up in a different world than their successors. Compared to higher learning and chasing the next shiny object, there’s a negative stigma attached to the plumbing profession. Scholastic achievement became favorable after the 2008 financial crisis and the idea of “work-force education” was left behind.
Family business traditions cease
What once was considered a heritage profession, family plumbing ties are not as popular as they once were. As career choices and corporate opportunities expand, the notion of filling your father’s footsteps are not as attractive as in years past. Thus, trade industry ties are often broken as family business longevity is lost.
Ever notice a low work order pile on a Plumber’s desk? No.
Exactly. Work orders are typically stacked high with demand. It’s because trade services are always needed! Customers depend keen expertise and highly trained professionals. Plumbers that are installing piping used for our medical gas, drinking water, and sewer piping systems need to be better than average. It’s crucial that they wear a lot of hats to exceed the needs of job demands.
Despite misconceptions of being somewhat beneath other professions, a job in plumbing is a viable and important career path. Plumbers have never been in such high demand. Many companies are offering handsome salaries, on the job training, and company perks in order to retain their existing team.
With these shortage realities, it’s important to do your research when looking for competent professionals to help find a solution to your plumbing problem. You’ll want to know that the company is customer-centered, on time, and within budget. It’s also just as important that there’s a friendly staff member on the phone to greet you and a competent trained expert in your home to stay and answer any questions that may arise.
Future Plumbing Industry Initiatives Stepping Up
While qualified Plumbers are in demand, there are companies that make certain to stay current with plumbing trends and technology. In Michigan, the government is finding resources to train, retain, and retrain talent.
The State of Michigan initiative—with close to $15 million available for 2018 for the skilled trade workers, local municipalities are encouraging businesses to attend county funding events on the topic. In fact, Michigan’s Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs is hosting a Skilled Trades Training Fund event for interested trade businesses.
Companies within the plumbing and construction industry can apply for grants to rectify the plumbing plague surrounding companies today. These opportunities may help to recruit qualified candidates and retain credentialed workers by getting money and resources needed to recruit or retrain talent.
To address the plumbing shortage, the Copper Development Association (CDA) has also developed educational programs and resources for workers in the field. These programs are geared to those who are already in the trade—both young and old. PHCP Pros, Your Professional Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Piping Community often visit United Association (UA) local unions, vocational school programs, contractors, and PHCC chapters. There, they participate in apprenticeship programs, conduct training courses and co-host competitions.
High schools are teaming up with community colleges for accredited apprentice programs. By shading industry professionals in exchange for college credit, students learn their trade first hand and on location in order to truly understand the scope of the profession.
These programs are a win-win for companies and workers alike because plumbing companies can ramp up inspiring talent, provide apprenticeships for the chance to experience daily plumbing tasks. In return, student apprentice workers bring innovation in technology advancements to share with their team.
By working in these programs, more individuals are likely to consider a life long career in plumbing. Thus, these eligible student candidates—our future Plumbers—can experience the breadth of the profession, as well as their earning potential. Providing these rewarding experiences, students realize job satisfaction in a positive light.
When looking for a reliable Plumber in the Metro Detroit area, seek out a company that’s:
- Experience and trusted
- Swift and timely on deliverables
- Up-to-date on industry trends and standards
- Customer-centered from the moment they pick up the phone
- Well versed on latest tools, technology, and equipment
- Hyper-focused on quality
- Proactive and resourceful; providing prevention tips
- Efficient; they won’t leave until the job is done right
Good Plumbers With Integrity and Accessibility
Reputable plumbing companies will follow through on responsibilities, will hold current professional certifications, insurance, and license and will be able to present these documents when asked. Plumbers will make it easy to call the office to schedule an appointment or to resolve an issue. Plumbers that will stay on routine calls until all your questions are addressed, and not only for 24/7 urgent circumstances.
With a decrease in qualified Plumbers in the industry, it’s no wonder that selective and resourceful homeowners are seeking ways to do everything themselves—including plumbing.
But, what if the job requires more than meets the eye? As we all know with plumbing problems, what often looks like a simple pipe fix, turns out to be a more complex problem once you get into the wall or under the sink. Therefore, you’ll want to know that the Plumber or plumbing company you use is the right fit for the job. Especially if you need plumbing service on restoration projects or older homes in historic neighborhoods.
Looking for a reliable local plumber in the Metro Detroit area? Look no further than WaterWork Plumbing. Give us a call us today at 248-542-8022 to schedule an appointment.