Did you know that the average age of plumbers in Texas is 52 and looking to retire?
Hiring friendly, technically skilled plumbers with good communication skills is not as easy as it sounds, but then you add in a limited hiring pool it can take us months to find the right guy for the job. There are few careers in this country that have as much opportunity for our young men as the trades do.
It seems like along the way we have lost pride in working with our hands and have put more value in a college education, even if it means coming out on the other side with a mediocre paying job. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to college! I just can’t help but be frustrated that so many talented young people are not being presented the option of a viable, well paying job with security.
In a recent blog post titled Real Work, the author George Briggs states, “I have seen the pressure parents place upon their kids to pursue “prestigious” careers, often disregarding the natural talents and interests of their children. I believe that people who are engaged in work that they love lead happier and more productive lives than people who are pursuing prestige or money. I encourage parents to support their kids in finding that career that resonates with them, even if it means looking to “real” work.”
I think there may be a perception by some that being a plumber is a dirty job that any Joe Blow could do and that it is more of a fallback career because of a lack of options. What most people don’t realize is that being a plumber requires an ability to not just work with your hands, but to think mechanically, be proficient in math, an ability in problem solving and for service technicians, good communication skills. This is not a career for dummies. In the state of Texas these guys must complete 8000 hours as an apprentice plumber before they can sit for the test to get their Journeyman’s plumbing license.
There are few career opportunities in this day and age where you get paid during your apprenticeship and are not saddled with student loan debt at the end. Here in Austin, the starting salary for plumbers is generally between $37,000 and $50,000. When you take into consideration the scarcity of plumbers and the importance of the job they do in being on the front line of disease prevention, it makes sense that they make as much as they do.
So come on! We need you guys. The health of our nation depends upon it.
“If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.” Albert Einstein, The Reporter, 18 November 1954
Shortly after making this remark, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, A.F.L. in Washington, D.C. voted to grant Einstein an honorary membership. Einstein was reportedly well pleased with this honor.