There was a time when a woman was expected to prepare for a field considered appropriate to her gender, like teaching, nursing, or secretarial work. However, according to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), women now make up about 9% of the construction industry. Not only that, but women also earn slightly more than the median pay for all construction workers, says Forbes.
What is HVAC?
As you may know, HVAC technicians specialize in the installation and repair of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment. While just 0.6 percent of the HVAC workforce in 2010 was female, groups such as Women in HVACR are working hard for change by introducing women to the advantages of going into a historically male-dominated field.
Once an HVAC technician has completed her HVAC training, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that she can expect to earn a median annual pay of $43,640, with the top 10 percent making around $68,000* a year. In addition, the need for trained HVAC technicians is expected to rise by 21% by 2022, meaning job security is all but insured.
Using Your Gender to Your Advantage
Whether a woman decides to go to work for an HVAC company or to begin her own business – as 9% of all HVAC technicians eventually do – there are ways for a female to use her gender to promote her work. Business is a field in which women are rewarded for being themselves, being honest, and building relationships, says Forbes. The fact that women are often more likely to be sensitive to the needs of those around them can actually play in her favor as she begins her professional career.
The question becomes how to harness the fact that one is female in such a male dominated field. The truth is, people will naturally notice, and you should use this recognition as a positive opportunity to stick in your customer’s mind. A woman ringing the doorbell hours after one has called for an appointment may come as a surprise. It will likely allow you to stand out to the home or business owner whose HVAC system you repaired, and if you do a great job, they’ll be unlikely to forget the woman who did an amazing job, answered all of their questions, and listened to their concerns.
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Female HVAC technicians also have an array of ways they can promote their services to other women. Groups like American Business Women’s Association are designed to introduce women from a variety of different businesses to one another and offer a rich outlet for networking. Professional Women in Construction and National Association of Women in Construction are two other networking opportunities, although with a bit of a twist. As an HVAC technician gets to know other women in the trade, they are able to form a web of references. For example, one woman may be putting drywall into a new build and suggest the HVAC technician she knows and trusts from her professional organization. And don’t stop at just joining one of these groups; become involved in activities and get to know as many other professional women as possible in order to get your name out there.
Another tact for a female technician is to leave brochures and business cards in senior living centers and apartment complexes that cater to senior citizens or military spouses. Women living alone are sometimes nervous about allowing a man into their home, while a female technician will probably not bring about the same concern. It is also a good idea to contact female-owned businesses, offering HVAC services and the opportunity to support one another’s work.
Finally, a woman who wishes to be supported by other women needs to find ways to offer her own support. Making sure she promotes other females in non-traditional roles is the best way to build goodwill and find support of her own.
*Avg. starting salary for Refrigeration Technologies is $31,762 for graduates where 150% of normal time for completion has elapsed and who attained employment in their field of study as reported on our annual accreditation report dated 7/1/2013.