Nearly all HVAC/R companies nationwide are facing the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality service technicians, and JAX Refrigeration is no different. It is a seemingly strange phenomenon considering HVAC/R service tech jobs are stable, offer high earning potential and continue to provide plentiful employment opportunities. The employment of HVAC/R technicians and installers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, per the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, the pool of qualified candidates for companies to choose from is in short supply.
“I think one of the main issues is that a lot of young people just don’t consider trades as a career, and it’s too bad,” explained Mark Rassano, JAX Refrigeration’s Mechanical Service Manager. “We definitely need good people in all parts of Florida and there are going to be other opportunities to grow with us as we expand our market.”
Why High Paying Trade Jobs are Going Unanswered
The decline in students participating in vocational education is attributed to a number of factors, including the push for high school graduates to obtain a bachelor’s degree, the stigma that technical jobs offer less pay and prestige, and the scarcity of vocational training at the high school level. “They pay all this money to go to college and think, when they get out, they’ll make $40 an hour somewhere,” said Rassano. “But, the reality is, in most cases, that doesn’t happen and all they’re left with is a student loan to pay back.”
Finding a job in the trades or manufacturing doesn’t mean there is no required education after high school. Most regulators and employers require certificates, certifications or associate degrees; but those cost less and take less time than earning a bachelor’s degree. JAX Refrigeration offers competitive salaries upwards of $125,000 annually, depending on experience, training, workload and region, along with a full benefits package and company vehicle. Those benefits don’t necessarily set JAX Refrigeration apart from competing companies also seeking quality technicians, so they have begun to add additional growth and management opportunities.
Being Creative to Draw In Talent
In a recent advertisement posted on industry job sites and Linked in, JAX Refrigeration provided the incentive for career advancement by promoting nearly a dozen opportunities for management-level roles across the country. These leadership positions provide encouraging financial incentives for candidates who contribute to the growth of the market in their area, along with the development of the work force they are charged to manage. JAX Refrigeration’s strategy is to position itself as a company that offers future development and financial growth, hoping to combat the misperceptions that tech jobs are limited in scope and earnings.
“Our best recruitment tool is our culture. In fact, I just hired someone who was interested in a better work environment,” said Rassano. “Finding a job is never going to be an issue for a good service technician, but not every place offers our sense of teamwork and accountability to each other. JAX Refrigeration is a friendly, fun group that supports one another and wants to succeed as a unit.”
Rassano added that weather in “The Sunshine State” could sometimes be a draw for those in other sections of the country who have lost patience with cold and snow. JAX Refrigeration has statewide opportunities in Florida and is beginning to branch out nationally, which will continue to create a demand for techs. The hope is that more young people will see a path to the opportunities and earning capabilities within tech vocations and fill the widening gap.
Experienced HVAC/R service technicians interested in career opportunities with Jax Refrigeration can click through to our job listings on LinkedIn.