Plumbing Labor Shortage: Is There a Shortage of Plumbers?

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Plumbing Labor Shortage: Is There a Shortage of Plumbers?

Plumbing is an essential part of modern life. However, the plumbing industry is facing a significant challenge, which is the shortage of skilled plumbers. In this blog post, we will discuss what the plumbing labor shortage is, why there is a shortage of plumbers, and ways to train more plumbers.

What is The Plumbing Labor Shortage?

The plumbing labor shortage refers to the lack of skilled plumbers in the industry to meet the growing demand for plumbing services.

The shortage has been a significant challenge for the industry, with many plumbing companies struggling to find qualified plumbers to hire.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the plumbing industry is expected to grow by 14% from 2018 to 2028, which means that the demand for plumbers will continue to increase.

Why Is There a Shortage of Plumbers?

Several factors have contributed to the shortage of plumbers in the industry. These factors include:

Aging Workforce

The plumbing industry has an aging workforce, with many plumbers nearing retirement age.

According to a study by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, 33% of plumbers in the US are over 50 years old, and only 2% are under 25 years old.

This means that as the older plumbers retire, there are not enough young plumbers to replace them.

Lack of Skilled Labor

The plumbing industry requires skilled labor, which is in short supply.

Many young people are not interested in pursuing careers in plumbing, and those who do often lack the necessary skills to become qualified plumbers.

This is partly due to the perception that plumbing is a dirty and low-paying job, which discourages many young people from pursuing it.

Competition from Other Trades

The plumbing industry is facing competition from other trades, such as HVAC and electrical.

These trades offer similar salaries and benefits as plumbing, but with less physically demanding work.

This has made it difficult for the plumbing industry to attract and retain skilled plumbers.

How To Fix The Plumbing Labor Shortage

Since plumbing as an industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, the world will need to find a way to recruit plumbers as soon as possible.

Here are a few ways that people can be encouraged to become a plumber:

  • Educate and Encourage Younger Candidates: The plumbing industry struggles at getting young people interested in the trade. Without a focus on youth, the industry will continue to see plumbers age out of work without replacements.
  • Increase Entry Level Pay: Entry level plumbing jobs and plumbing apprenticeships have low starting pay relative to non-trade industries. High school graduates have shown their willingness to take on student debt for a chance at a stronger starting wage in the workforce. Expecting young people entering the workforce to work full-time for less than a living wage is a recipe for disaster.
  • Company-Sponsored Training: Even for those interested in plumbing, many are left without clear options to joining the industry. Local plumbing companies should make an investment in recruiting, training, and promoting young talent into plumbing careers. Instead, many rely on plumbing trade schools to do the heavy lifting upfront.

Final Thoughts on the Plumbing Labor Shortage

The plumbing labor shortage is a significant challenge for the industry.

Many plumbing companies are struggling to find qualified plumbers to hire, but are unwilling to change.

For example, companies need to consider candidates with no experience if they cannot find experienced plumbers.

To address the shortage, the industry needs to attract more young people to pursue careers in plumbing.

By providing the necessary training, skills, and salaries to younger people, they can find more candidates interested in plumbing careers.

Casey Loeber
Casey Loeber

Casey Loeber is the founder of His mission is to share the best information online about plumbing jobs and help plumbers lead fulfilling careers.

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