Empowering Change: The Rise of Women in HVAC Careers and Construction

In the traditionally male-dominated realm of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), a notable shift is underway as an increasing number of women are making their mark in the industry. Recent statistics from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reveal a positive trend, indicating that the representation of women in HVAC careers and construction trades is at its highest point in the last two decades.

Beyond just breaking through the gender barriers, women in HVAC are not only joining the workforce but also ascending to leadership positions and establishing their own construction businesses. From administrators and project managers, these women are contributing their expertise both on the job site and behind the scenes, bringing a valuable and fresh perspective to the construction landscape. If you’re a company looking to bring these benefits to your company, read on for valuable insights on how to support women in HVAC. 

This blog delves into the evolving state of women in HVAC, celebrating their influence and providing valuable insights on supporting women in this dynamic field.

The State of Women in HVAC and Construction

In 2020, 10.9% of all construction workers were women, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Therefore, one in ten who work in a role related to construction is a woman. Additionally, the BLS projects a 4% growth in the construction sector between 2021 and 2031. Over the next ten years, that translates to roughly 168,500 new employment annually. Companies are seeking to hire more women in HVAC careers than ever before to bring their skill sets into the market as a result of this rapid and constant expansion. Women are needed in HVAC careers since there is a skills shortage in the field. Employers gain from the diverse skill set that women bring to the construction sector.  

Why HVAC Careers are Great for Women 

Embarking on a career in HVAC is an excellent choice for women, providing numerous advantages in an industry that offers promising prospects.

  • Lower Pay Gap – Women in HVAC and construction jobs earn 99.1% of what their male counterparts make for the same duties, surpassing the national average where the average woman makes just 81.1% of a male’s earnings, making the construction sector promising for those seeking a career with great salary potential.
  • Short Training Time – As an HVAC technician, you can begin making money after just a few months of training.
  • Abundant Job Opportunities – HVAC is one of the most in-demand occupations on the market and the job outlook for HVAC professionals is predicted to expand by 14%, which is twice as fast as the average growth for other industries.
  • Scholarships and Training – Organizations including NAWIC Founder’s Scholarship, the Association of Women Contractors Scholarship, and the Association for Women in Construction, offer financial aid, making the pursuit of education in the construction industry more financially feasible.
  • Variety and Creativity – The sector offers diverse opportunities including positions such as HVAC technician, HVAC installer, safety inspector, manager, and business owner, each offering good salaries.
  • Steady Work – Most HVAC technicians work full-time jobs and may find consistent employment all year round. Normal weekday hours are typical, although there may be possibilities for overtime or odd hours during the busiest heating and cooling seasons.

Challenges Faced by Women in HVAC & Construction

Although pursuing an HVAC career is a great option for women, since it offers many benefits in a field with bright futures, there are major obstacles standing in the way of women joining the business. While a significant 78% of women in construction express their love for their jobs, the journey is far from easy. Despite the diverse roles in the construction sector, women comprise only about one in nine workers, facing persistent stereotypes and limited awareness of job opportunities. Challenges include inadequate facilities, safety equipment, communication breakdowns, and underrepresentation. Addressing these barriers is crucial for fostering inclusivity and diversity, particularly in encouraging women to pursue HVAC careers.

  • Negative Stereotypes – Despite opportunities, many women in HVAC still feel the industry has limited offerings, perpetuating stereotypes. They are presently glaringly underrepresented in executive and trade roles.
  • Lack of Respect – In male-dominated environments, women in HVAC and construction frequently face the challenge of proving their technical expertise. Microaggressions, subtle actions or comments based on gender, race, or identity, undermine women’s careers, causing stress and emotional impact at a significantly higher rate than men.
  • Underrepresentation – Women in construction comprise only 11% of workers. Beyond numbers, the industry’s predominantly male onsite workforce creates an intimidating environment, deterring a third of women due to fears of sexism. 
  • Communication Breakdowns – Communication issues within the construction sector hinder productivity, affecting both contractor relationships and gender dynamics. 
  • Safety – Despite progress, the construction job site remains one of the most dangerous places to work, particularly for women.

  • Work Environment – The limited presence of women in HVAC and construction often leads to inadequate gender-specific facilities, forcing female workers to share port-a-potties with their male counterparts.

Opportunities for Women in HVAC Careers

Despite being a minority in the construction industry, women are making substantial contributions and defying stereotypes, showcasing their value in crucial leadership positions. 

Work in HVAC careers and construction roles require excellent problem-solving, communication, and attention to detail abilities. These are all qualities that both men and women can develop. For example, many women excel in project management roles, leveraging their multitasking abilities and attention to detail. Ownership roles highlight the importance of female perspectives in client interactions. With backgrounds ranging from supply chain management to entrepreneurship, these women bring unique perspectives and fresh ideas to the industry. 

For women who wish to start HVAC careers, there are now more opportunities and a viable route thanks to early trailblazers. As women in HVAC and construction continue to challenge traditional norms, they amplify the voices of their female counterparts in decision-making processes, reshaping the industry’s dynamics.

Examples of HVAC Careers

  • Service Coordinator – A dynamic role in managing mobile service technicians. The job involves dispatch responsibilities, service order creation, scheduling, and maintaining customer relations. With a focus on customer service, communication skills, and proficiency in dispatch software systems, the role provides an excellent opportunity for those with a background in customer service and a willingness to learn the mechanical service business.
  • Account Manager – This position is a great fit for a relationship-focused professional. Responsibilities include initiating customer contact, recommending solutions, and managing long-term relationships with building owners. This position provides a great opportunity for individuals with a background in business or engineering seeking a progressive field sales career.
  • HVAC Technician – Technicians are provided with a company van and tools to travel to various customer sites for maintenance and small HVAC projects. The role involves displaying customer service skills, troubleshooting, completing preventative maintenance, and utilizing technology for work orders and reports. This position provides an opportunity for a driven individual to contribute to a high-performing team while delivering superior customer service.
  • Contracts Administrator – Responsible for managing the process flow and documents related to project setup and contractual matters. Key responsibilities include entering job setup sheets, obtaining and processing contract documents, maintaining logs, and ensuring the accuracy and integrity of contract information. This role is ideal for proactive individuals with strong communication, organizational, and analytical skills.
  • Visit MMC’s career page for a list of current open positions.

Support the Female Workforce in HVAC & Construction

As the demand for HVAC installation and maintenance services rises alongside the construction industry’s growth, HVAC companies should recognize the valuable contribution women can make to this field. Women can bring diverse skills and perspectives to the industry. 

Considering the ongoing evolution and growth in the HVAC sector, companies that embrace diversity and innovation, including hiring more women, are likely to position themselves successfully in this dynamic industry. Businesses with greater gender diversity have a higher chance of achieving above-average profitability. Construction companies with higher proportions of female executives outperformed their peers in terms of financial success. 

Five Things Your Company Can Do to Support Women in HVAC

  1. Foster a Culture of Innovation and Leadership: Cultivate a diverse construction workforce by promoting female leaders as role models. Invest in cutting-edge technologies, such as beginner-friendly project management software, to drive innovation and advancement.
  2. Provide Access to Training and Education: Offer career advancement opportunities for women, including online classes and certificate programs. Support professional development to expand and acquire new skills.
  3. Support National Groups: Partner with organizations like NAWIC and Women Construction Owners & Executives USA to provide mentorship, networking, and educational opportunities. Collaborate with Women in HVACR to support their mission of mentoring and educating women in the HVAC industry.
  4. Establish Mentorship Opportunities: Develop a robust support system, especially for early-career employees, through mentorship programs. Surround your workforce with people and resources to facilitate success in HVAC and construction trades.
  5. Address Barriers: Reduce the impact of barriers such as stereotypes, facility inadequacies, communication breakdowns, and underrepresentation. These initiatives not only contribute to a more diverse and innovative workplace but also strengthen the overall success of the construction business.

Moving Forward With Innovation in HVAC Careers 

As the construction industry evolves, the challenges faced by women in HVAC and construction are being acknowledged, with companies actively working to create inclusive environments. From addressing stereotypes to providing mentorship opportunities, the industry is taking steps toward fostering diversity. Despite the ongoing journey to gender equity, each stride forward contributes to a more welcoming and supportive environment for women in these traditionally male-dominated fields. With increased opportunities and impactful diversity, the positive shift is evident, especially in larger construction companies actively embracing and supporting women in the HVAC sector.