Surprise! The plumbing industry still doesn’t really know where the next generation of techs, managers and entrepreneurs are going to come from.
See, the plumbing business and, perhaps, many of the other trades have a little perception problem. Perception problems can be crippling – just ask U.S. automakers who are still suffering slightly from the perception their vehicles are junk compared to imports. Same thing with the plumbing industry. For years we’ve tolerated jokes at plumbers’ expense and we’ve sat there staring, mouths agape and encrusted with Cheetos dust, as the same old plumber memes appear in the popular media.
You know the ones – plumbers are plumbers because they’re too dumb to be able to get any other job. They’re all dishonest slobs who don’t know what size pants to wear and who are unfamiliar with the concept of personal hygiene and, besides, they handle other people’s poop and wee-wee all day long.
Let’s face it — a plumbing career (and trades work) frankly, have never been common line items on the Big List o’ Childhood Dreams and a child who goes to work in the trades can sometimes be rationalized by hyper ambitions, but slightly disappointed, parents by thinking, “Well, at least he/she’s not in jail.”
I call this to your attention because RJ is a trade magazine. I can sit here and write and write and write all day long about the problem of finding qualified labor but I’d be wasting my breath preaching to the choir. RJ, as a qualified circulation trade magazine, isn’t really in a position to do much in the way of outreach. That’s going to have to come from folks out there working in the industry every day.
Almost every high school and community college career center will play host to on-campus job fairs during the year. That’s one simple way to turn kids onto an alternate way of making a very good living. They’re also great chance to assuage the parents’ concerns that little Tyler’s interest in a trades career isn’t a life sentence to Butt-Crack Prison.
The simple fact is a career in the trades can provide the most realistic opportunity for a youngster to avoid middle management cubicle hell and, after a training period and a few more years in the business, wind up being one of those fat and sassy middle-aged cigar smokers riding around resort golf courses in electric carts while other people work to put money in his pocket.
Looking for qualified labor? Make a move – don’t just passively advertise openings. The industry has a long row to hoe in that it has to erase its stereotype while simultaneously pointing out the potentially lucrative facts about trades careers. It’s all up to you.