Editors Blog

Taking Care of Business: Can We Add Service Tech to Job List?

December 8, 2008
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I just read an online article from a writer who claims there are five recession-proof industries:

1. Education

2. Accounting & Auditing

3. Health Care

4. Information Technology

5. Security

I won’t argue with those choices although I do wonder where “Waste Management” is since there will never be a shortage of waste.

But it also got me thinking that the service trades like HVACR, plumbing, and electrical are always going to be in demand because there are no such things as maintenance-free appliances and fixtures. Even the ones with built-in obsolescence need to be replaced and often by a professional technician/installer.

However, slow economic times are forcing people to use chicken wire and duct tape to keep things together until they can afford normal repairs and replacements. I am exaggerating - people also use “pre-chewed” gum to patch holes, too. The point is, with the shortage of good labor available to the HVACR trade, can we really say that service techs represent a recession-proof trade?

I think not. It would be nice to think that good techs will always be in demand, but right now I have my doubts. Of course, I’m from Michigan, where even the best workers in many trades can’t find work. But I think our affliction has spread to many other areas, too.

Let’s keep training our techs and inviting new ones to enter the trade - but let’s make sure we have enough work for them to stay interested.

(I mentioned chicken wire, duct tape, and gum. E-mail me with some of the jerry rigging your techs have seen on service calls. I’ll publish some at a later date.)
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