Career Progression and Bridging the Educational and Representational Gap in the HVAC Industry

Over 97% of HVAC technicians in the US are men, while women comprise only 2.6% of the industry. This disparate statistic is often a commonality among many trade industries. However, one insider hopes to change that. What is she doing to encourage others to join the skilled trade of HVAC?

On the latest episode of Straight Outta Crumpton, hosts Tyler Kern and Greg Crumpton spoke with Jessica Bannister, a level 3 HVAC apprentice with Cam Cool Refrigeration, about the importance of continued learning, representation, career progression and the importance of having pride in your skilled work.

Bannister wasn’t always an HVAC apprentice, in fact, prior to joining her family business, she was in the office. For a woman like Bannister, HVAC career progression didn’t seem like an interesting option that was available to her — because she never saw a woman mechanic in the industry. Now, however, Bannister hopes to change that stereotype, by building awareness through her Instagram, TikTok, and everyday life.

“There’s like a community that we’ve formed [on social media] … and what’s really cool about it is, you do see these guys that have been in the industry for twenty-odd years — and they’ve now shown up on Instagram or wherever they are on social media — and they’re showing off their workmanship and they have so much pride and passion for showing off what they’ve done. And I really think that that’s elevating our entire industry,” said Bannister.

Crumpton, Kern, and Bannister also discussed…

● How HVAC jargon can sometimes limit entry into the industry

● How to unstick from the HVAC plateau

● How social media can help educate others while recruiting new tradespeople

“The intent at the end of the day … is inspire and educate people,” she explained. “I think people don’t really have an awareness of what HVAC is … I want to open the doors to it. But the primary reason is, I really want to inspire other people — not only girls and women but guys as well, that are choosing a career, coming out of school — to consider the skilled trades.”

Residing in Vancouver, Canada, Bannister previously was the owner and virtual assistant at Jessica’s Desk and the administrative assistant and marketing manager at Bond Capital. She earned her degree in business administration from Simon Fraser University.