Bring Millennials to HVAC Contributed by Ruchir Shah. Excerpted from CE News.

September 09, 2021

“What’s HVAC?” That was my 19-year old cousin’s reaction when I told her about this blog post. I told her what it was and asked if she had ever considered a career as a technician; she laughed. What a ridiculous idea! Why would she ever want to be an HVAC tech?

It’s a sad truth: millennials don’t want to work in the skilled trades. Baby Boomers are retiring by the dozens, and they aren’t being replaced. It’s a huge industry problem – it’s estimated there are 100,000 HVAC jobs that will go unfilled over the next 10 years. 100,000!

At SkillCat, an online HVAC training and jobs platform, we have worked with thousands of millennial techs and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Want to attract millennials to your HVAC business? Here are three strategies that have worked for us!

1) Educate them!
The number one reason millennials aren’t interested in HVAC is that they just don’t know anything about it! They’ve been indoctrinated with a bunch of false, outdated, stories about blue collar jobs.

As a company, your first job is to educate them! Go to schools, social media groups, career fairs – everywhere you can find millennials – and educate them on the misconceptions they have about careers in HVAC and the roadmap to an HVAC certification.

Most millennials don’t think you can make money in HVAC. Techs have great starting salaries and can clear over $100,000 a year after a couple years on the job, compared to the average college grad salary of $40,000 a year!

Most millennials don’t think there’s job security in HVAC. HVAC jobs are booming, growing 30% year-over-year with a massive shortage. Can you think of any job that is more secure?

Most millennials don’t think it’s fun being a tech. Skilled trade jobs have 80%+ job satisfaction – among the highest of any job, anywhere.

The first step to getting millennials aboard is to make them aware of just how amazing an HVAC career is. Don’t learn to code. Learn to be an HVAC tech instead!

2) Embrace diversity
Most millennials (like my cousin!) think they can’t be technicians. Even if they like working with their hands or think the job sounds cool, they’ve automatically discounted it because it doesn’t seem like a good fit for them. As a company looking for the best and brightest talent, it’s your job to counter this and make all types of people feel welcome!

Women can be the best techs! We’ve spoken to some incredibly talented women who have gone through all our HVAC training and gotten top notch scores in all our HVAC assessments. Their issue: a lot of companies won’t take them seriously or consider them! Many companies will assume they can’t do the job and have poor mechanical skills, even when that’s not the case at all.

Whether it’s women, people of color, or even workers transitioning from other industries – you should be open to anyone when hiring millennials for an HVAC job.

To attract these folks – who might end up being your best techs – embrace diversity in your marketing and your HR strategies. Go to events where minority groups and women are more likely to be present. Include stories and pictures of women and minorities who have succeeded on your website and in your marketing materials. And build a hiring process with unbiased hiring assessments that replace judgment calls with data.

If you are fair and balanced in your hiring practices, millennials will be your biggest supporters.

3) Technology is the Millennial Way
Last but not least, adapt your training and recruitment strategies to the new generation! Millennials were born into the world of technology, and as a company, you need to embrace it.

All your training should be online. Whether it’s Refrigeration Theory or EPA Certification, millennials don’t want to learn in a classroom and they don’t want to learn from an instructor. They want to learn online, at their own pace. Add 3D animations and simulators for a fully immersive experience – it becomes the Millennial Way. Attract millennials by supporting training designed for them.
All your recruiting should be mobile. Millennials are always on their phones, and searching for a job is no different. Any job board or website you use to post your jobs should be mobile friendly. Optimized job applications to be as easy as possible for someone to access and apply on their phone.

Think creatively with technology – the sky’s the limit! Today, you can have online degrees, online training, AI based assessments, and much more! At SkillCat, we’ve created a mechanical aptitude game to find and assess millennials. Gaming is the #1 fastest growing entertainment platform in the US, especially with this age group. Why not embrace gaming to bring more millennials to the industry?

Seize the day today! We’d love to hear how you are targeting millennials at your HVAC company in the comments.

Author Bio
Ruchir Shah is the Founder and CEO of SkillCat, an online HVAC training and jobs platform for the next generation of HVAC technicians: millennial HVAC technicians, a startup out of Stanford University using AI to reskill & place 100,000 new HVAC technicians over the next 10 years.