Editors Blog


Skaer-Tactics: We Must Tell of Our Needs to the Press

July 8, 2008

Let’s all write Arik Hesseldahl, a writer for BusinessWeek.com, and inform him how much the HVACR industry needs employees. We all have to get the attention of the national and local press in order to spread the word of this industry’s labor needs.

I am not picking on Mr. Hesseldahl. It’s just that the headline for his article, which jumped out at me at yahoo.com, pulled me in to find out more. The headline? “Technology: It’s Where the Jobs Are.”

Yep, the guy was pushing high school and college graduates to study computer science or engineering - and noted the importance of moving to a big city. I guess it’s another case of technology being more “sexy” than HVACR…no?

According to Hesseldahl’s article, a new study from AeA, a group formerly known as the American Electronics Association, reports that jobs in the technology industry are growing at a healthy clip, especially in large cities. The AeA’s findings jibe with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say on the subject of technology jobs: More than 850,000 IT jobs will be added during the 10-year period ending at 2016, which would be a rise of 24 percent. Add all the jobs that will replace retiring workers, and the total increase could be a tidy 1.6 million, wrote Hesseldahl. Bottom line: That means one job in every 19 created over the course of the next decade will be in technology, he said.

In other words, they need workers and this industry needs workers. Guess who will win if we do not paint a solid picture for high school graduates and college students in the national and local media?

Here is something else to think about. According to Hesseldahl’s research, the highest paid salaries are in the Silicon Valley, where the average computer tech worker is paid a reported $144,000 a year. According to Hesseldahl, that’s nearly double the $80,000 national average for tech jobs.

What does this all mean? Answer: There’s still a labor shortage in computer tech - just as there is in HVACR. However, if you took Economics 101, you know the need for workers usually translates into good news for paychecks. Already, computer tech wages are 87 percent higher, on average, than in the rest of the private-sector job market.

How can or should the HVACR industry counterattack? We have to if this industry is going to thrive. We have to get the word out regarding this industry’s employment needs both nationally and locally.

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