Occupational Demand for HVAC Workers in Seattle, WA
The demand for HVAC technicians nationwide continues to grow. According to the BLS (Oct. 2017), the number of openings for HVAC professionals is expected to swell 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, substantially faster than the average growth expected across all occupations during that time period. It’s worth noting that Washington state is expected to have even more robust growth in industry. In fact, Projections Central predicted a 22.1 percent statewide increase in openings for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2014 and 2024, and most of the state’s growth is expected in the Puget Sound region, which includes King County and Seattle. By illustration, WalletHub (June 2017) gave Washington state the #1 position in its economic ratings, which included the number of jobs available. Not surprisingly, the economic growth was primarily in the urban parts of the state, with Seattle leading the growth.
HVAC growth is fueled by several factors, including the economy. Every new office or residence requires climate control. Existing buildings need to have obsolete equipment replaced or retrofitted. The emphasis on energy conservation and pollution reduction means that systems have to be regularly serviced and maintained. HVAC professionals work indoors and outdoors, sometimes in adverse weather conditions. They may also have to work in cramped areas that force them into awkward positions. It’s worth noting that technicians may experience a higher rate of injury than workers in other trades. Injuries can include electrical shocks or muscle strains from moving heavy equipment.
The BLS reported that approximately nine percent of HVAC/R technicians are self-employed. The remaining technicians are employed by contractors, schools, or retail and wholesale companies. Technicians usually work full time, although many put in overtime hours in evenings or on weekends during seasons of peak demand.
The city of Seattle is often included as part of two larger BLS-designated metropolitan areas: Seattle-Bellevue-Everett and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue. The population and new jobs in these areas are increasing daily, according to a feature article in The Atlantic (Nov. 2017). Participation in global markets and the digital economy contribute the vitality of Seattle businesses. The Seattle metropolitan areas are home to numerous lucrative corporations, including Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Expeditors International, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Paccar (Makers of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks), Starbucks, and Weyerhaeuser. Notably, these are all Fortune 500 companies.
To best illustrate the thriving demand for HVAC workers in Seattle, turn to an online job site. For example, Indeed (Nov. 2017) listed hundreds of local openings for HVAC/R technicians. One company was looking specifically for an entry-level apprentice, preferably one with coursework. At least two companies were offering up to $5,000 signup bonuses for experienced HVAC technicians. Most of the positions were for light commercial or residential equipment technicians. The Seattle-based listings on Monster (Nov. 2017) were for technicians with refrigeration or engineering experience. The majority of the listings were from governmental agencies and schools rather than from contractors.