As a board member in Women in HVACR, I’m often approached by contractors asking us to help them recruit women for their company. They ask us to help them find female technicians.
It’s no secret that there is a shortage of women in our industry, and that may be due to the fact that HVACR has been known to be a predominately male-run industry. Let’s be honest, most little girls don’t typically say, “When I grow up, I want to fix furnaces and air conditioners.”
So where do we find these women? Believe me, they’re out there. Some of them are currently students, training for the trades. Others are probably already working in the workforce as bus drivers, hairdressers or cake decorators — at least, that’s where I found my female technicians.
You just never know when you will run into a woman who has the skills, drive, desire or ability to become your next superstar technician.
Here are four simple things that you can do right now to help you find and recruit women for your business.
Create a Welcoming Culture
If you haven’t had female technicians or installers working in your company before, it may be a shock to your team when you actually do hire one. When I hired my first female technician six years ago, our male technicians questioned us and really tested her.
Luckily, she had thick skin, and their pushback made her stronger. She had to work harder as a woman to prove her abilities and her skills. But, she became my top requested technician and quickly moved into service and then into sales.
You’ll want to prepare your team and design a culture in your company that is very welcoming to women. Be very open about it with your team so that your culture accommodates both men and women.
Women must feel like they belong when they join your team.
Enlist Your Team to Help
Once you have shared the vision and goal of having women in the field with your team members, have them help! Ask your employees if they know of any women who may be interested in joining your company, specifically to work in the field.
Our most recent female technician was recruited by her brother, who is one of our leading service technicians. Another female technician that joined our team was working at a retail store, and recruited to come to our company by another one of our technicians.
Your team can be a big help when it comes to recruiting women. They can give a first-hand testimonial of the benefits and perks that come with a career in HVACR, and more specifically, what it’s like to work for your company.
Partnerships with Local Schools
Become involved with your local trade schools and develop relationships with their staff and teachers. Be willing to guest present on different topics relevant to an HVACR career path.
Do the same thing in your local high schools. My husband and I have visited several high schools in the last couple of years and we have presented to students on a variety of topics such as what a career in HVACR looks like, to resume writing and interviewing.
During our presentations we always talk about the abundance of opportunities for women in our industry. The information you can share can be so relevant to these students at this time in their lives.
Being known as an expert in your industry, and educating the students by letting them know about the opportunities in HVACR can help you plant seeds and build a pipeline for the future.
Focus Your Marketing
Let the public know that you’re looking for women to join your team. One company that does this better than anyone else is Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning in Saint Peters, Mo. They have a large billboard outside of their building next to the freeway that has a female technician on it, and the sign says, “Silly Boys, Girls can fix furnaces too!”
It not only invites women to work for you, but tells your potential customers that you have women technicians, which is very appealing, especially for stay at home moms. We put female technicians in our online videos and on our website so that our customers and potential recruits know that we welcome and invite women into our industry.
I invite you to increase your recruiting efforts as you seek to hire female technicians. I have personally enjoyed having a diverse workforce with men and women in my HVACR business. It brings a great balance to my team, and an enjoyable, desirable company culture.
In addition, my customers have appreciated the fact that we send female technicians into their homes. These women bring a refreshing ability to relate well with home owners and to help them feel safe in their home while they are there.
When you recruit and hire female technicians, you will be creating new opportunities that will definitely impact the growth and success of your company.