The plumbing industry is in the middle of a serious crisis. There is a massive shortage of licensed plumbers not just in Texas but in the country. All of us in the skilled trades industries have watched for years as the pool of qualified candidates shrinks to almost nothing.
And every year with those smaller numbers, more and more licensed plumbers are near or at retirement age. (The average age of a licensed plumber is around 55.)
Why Is There a Shortage of Plumbers?
Go to college so you can get a good job. Go to college so you can get a good job. Go to college so you can get a good job.
Thanks to this kind of advice doled out by parents and teachers more and more students signed up to get a degree to get that supposed “good” job than have entered the trades.
But things did not go as intended for many of those hopeful college students and their parents. Instead we have huge numbers of young adults who left college — with and without degrees — saddled with mountains of debt and little to no job prospects.
The flaw with this advice was two-fold. One, college is not for everybody. And two, many of those “good” jobs no longer exist thanks to too many people vying for the same jobs, advances in technology, and corporate outsourcing.
Mike Rowe, TV host, narrator, producer, and skilled trades advocate, sums it up perfectly:
“America is lending money it doesn’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.”
Why You Should Consider a Career in Plumbing
First of all plumbing is not just a good job but it’s an excellent career. People will always need plumbers. And with ever-changing state and city regulations and codes, a licensed plumber is not only preferred but necessary. (I talk about the dangers of hiring an unlicensed plumber in this post.)
While we don’t know what will happen five, 10, 20 years down the road, it’s unlikely the need for plumbers will be obsolete, at least not for a long time. And it’s not like you can outsource a plumbing job to another country.
But one of the most immediate benefits of starting a career in plumbing, you can start making money right away. Plumbing is an earn while you learn profession. You work and train under the supervision of a licensed plumber as you prepare for your own license.
Not only are you making money right out of the gate, because you don’t need a college degree, there’s no need for student loans. So while your friends are accumulating thousands of dollars in debt and preparing for a life of searching for work and paying off loans, you’re learning a useful skill in a secure profession and making money in the process.
I also wouldn’t recommend going to college and then entering the skilled trades. No need to accumulate debt when you can be making good money straight out of high school. The military, however, is a good choice if you’re leaning in that direction. Skilled trades is an an excellent choice for anyone leaving the military and looking for work.
Also a quick note about felonies. It is possible to get a plumbing license with a felony on your record but it is extremely difficult. You have to go before a review board to get it approved. So if it all possible, do your best to not get one in the first place.
Advice to Job Seekers
If you are considering applying for a job with a plumbing company, I have some advice to increase your chances of landing the job. (In fact, this first part would benefit any applicant in any field.)
We get a lot of applicants when we post a job listing. And it’s clear from most of the applications, the prospective employee hasn’t read the job description and can’t follow simple instructions. You need to understand the position before you apply for a job and be able to follow simple directions.
For instance, we post our job openings on Indeed. Applicants are directed to fill out a simple questionnaire when they apply. But so many neglect to fill out the questionnaire. They click apply and leave the questionnaire blank.
Also we include the salary range for the position in the job listing. And one of the questions we ask is what do you expect to make, salary-wise. So many answer with a number significantly higher than what we posted on Indeed making it obvious they did not read the listing.
And the most surprising of all, someone will go to the trouble of applying for the job and setting up an interview but then never show up. No call, no show, nothing.
- Understand the position before applying
- Read the job listing and follow directions
- Show up on time
If you do those three things, you’ll jump over a huge portion — about 95 to 98 percent — of applicants.
Now specific to plumbing and some other service industries, you often need a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. I’m sending my crew out to houses in company vehicles which means you have to be able to legally drive in the state of Texas.
The Stigma of “Dirty Jobs”
It’s time to get rid of the idea that working in the skilled trades means you couldn’t get a “good” job. It’s time for parents to stop discouraging their children from getting a job that is well paid, has a promising career path, and long-term stability.
Too often, people don’t like plumbers until they need a plumber. And with the current stigma and shortage, that’s going to get harder and harder while more and more college-educated workers line up for unemployment crushed by the stress of their unpaid students loans.
I said it earlier and will say it again, college is not for everybody. And if you know it’s not for you, I strongly urge you to consider the skilled trades if you want to create a good life for yourself and your family. It is a secure line of work and well paid to boot. And with demand being much higher than the supply, you are guaranteed work (if you’re willing to do the work).
Please give us a call at 972-494-1750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to know more about starting a career in the skilled trades.