Plumbing Employment: An Additional 110,000 Plumbers Are Needed by 2012

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With the demand for skilled plumbers outpacing the supply, compensation levels are expected to increase as employers continue to get more aggressive in their recruiting strategies.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for experienced Plumbers is likely to increase by 10 – 20% over the next seven years. Based on the labor statistics from 2002, an additional 110,000 Plumbers could be needed by the year 2012. About 70% of these Plumbers would be working for contractors engaged in new construction, repair, modernization, or maintenance work.

As the demand for experienced Plumbers increases, so does that of Plumbing Sales People, Estimators, Project Managers, Designers/Drafters, Foremen, Superintendents, etc… Although much of this growth is likely due to residential and commercial new construction in the United States, there’s always a need to modernize existing structures which provides consistent work for industry professionals. With the demand for skilled Plumbers outpacing the supply, compensation levels are expected to increase as employers continue to get more aggressive in their recruiting strategies.

Passive forms of advertising such as an employment ad in the local newspaper, job posting on a career site or a HELP WANTED sign on the back of their trucks simply aren’t enough to attract new employees, and hiring a professional recruiter to track down skilled workers isn’t within the budget for most of these companies. So what can Plumbing companies do to find the key people they need to hire? One company may have the answer.

HVAC Agent (http://www.hvacagent.com) started a unique program in 2001 for the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry which has now grown to be the largest HVACR employment resource in the United States listing over 2,700 available jobs from about 1,300 HVACR employers. “Many of our HVACR Contractors have been asking for several years if we could do the same thing for the Plumbing industry”, said Mike Mayberry, President and Founder of HVAC Agent. “Since the demand for experienced Plumbers is very similar as that of HVACR professionals, we made the decision to expand our efforts into the Plumbing industry.”

Set to launch in late summer 2005, Plumbing Agent (http://www.plumbingagent.com) will focus on helping Plumbing Companies in the same way that HVAC Agent has for HVACR Contractors, Wholesale Suppliers/Distributors, Building Owners, Engineering Firms and Property Management Companies over the past four years. The business model for Plumbing Agent, just like that of HVAC Agent is very different from a traditional Internet Career Site or Staffing Firm.

For potential Job Seekers the program is always free and works very similar to a traditional Internet Career Site. They can create an account online, as well as search and apply for available positions. However, in the cases where a Job Seeker doesn’t have Internet access or is uncomfortable adding their information online, Plumbing Agents staff will gladly take their information by phone or the Job Seeker can fax their resume toll-free.

The biggest difference is with how the Plumbing companies/employers will use this program. Just like with HVACR companies, most Plumbing companies have very limited time and resources and no dedicated recruiting staff to find experienced employees. It’s typically the Owner/Managers responsibility to not only place the employment ads, but also sift through all the resumes/applications to narrow the stack down to those people they want to talk to. It’s just one more thing to try and get done in their typical 60-80 hour work week. Recruiting experienced Plumbing professionals has become a full-time job and yet very few companies can justify the expense of having a full-time recruiter on staff let alone the consistent advertising budget necessary for success.

For this reason, Plumbing Agent will essentially become the recruiting department for these employers, providing them with the same recruiting resources as any Fortune 500 company would have; including a dedicated staff to not only manage the recruitment advertising efforts, but to also do the initial evaluation of each potential applicant based on the employers job requirements. In the evaluation process, Plumbing Agents staff will compare each potential applicants resume/profile to the specific job requirements to eliminate those who "Clearly" cannot do the job. As with HVAC Agent, Plumbing Agent estimates that they will eliminate nearly 60% of the applicants evaluated, saving their employers hundreds, if not thousands of man hours each year. Unlike a Career Site, the employers never need to login to the Plumbing Agent website to post jobs or search a resume database. The employers simply tell their dedicated Account Manager what types of people they need and Plumbing Agent begins emailing or faxing applicant profile/resumes within 24-48 hours.

To fund this program, each employer will contribute a one-time account setup fee of $89 and an additional $89/month for each geographic area where they need to hire Plumbing professionals. That’s it. There’s no additional cost for each job posting or each person that they hire. Plumbing Agent then combines the monthly fees paid by all its members to increase the groups’ employment advertising budget and staff necessary to manage it, essentially consolidating the recruiting efforts for everyone. The more employers that join the network, the larger the budget becomes. Through their consistency in advertising online as well as many traditional non-internet sources, Plumbing Agent will be able to use this budget to locate and attract thousands of experienced applicants for their employers nationwide. In comparison, HVAC Agent started out in late 2001 with only a few members and an annual advertising budget of about $25,000. In less than four years, that budget has reached nearly $500,000 with a dedicated staff of 10 people that now evaluate over 400,000 potential HVACR applicants each year for its employers. Based on the fact that the HVACR industry and the Plumbing industry are very similar, Plumbing Agent feels that its growth will be in line with that of HVAC Agent and likely much faster due to the cross-over between the two.

For more information on Plumbing Agent and to keep posted on their launch later this summer, visit their website at http://www.plumbingagent.com.

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Mike Mayberry
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