At a recent industry meeting where much of the focus was on recruiting and hiring, industry legend and Contracting magazine Hall of Fame inductee Ron Smith stood up and made the comment that white males account for only one-third of the pool of potential employees. And then followed that statement with the thought that for businesses in our industry to grow and find enough quality employees for the future, business owners must look outside the industry's preconceived idea of what a service technician looks like — read white male. Finally, Ron rolled out the ostrich egg in the hen house with the challenging statement that back in the late 1980s and early 1990's Modern Air Conditioning had 10 technicians who were women.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, 51% of the labor force will be women by 2018 and yet, in 2013, only 1.2% of the total employed heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians were women.

Ron Smith’s comments, these facts from the Department of Labor, and some interesting exchanges with women in the HVACR and plumbing industry made me wonder why more women aren’t involved in this industry, particularly in the more technical aspects of the business — technicians, design engineers, even sales?

Women’s Brains are Wired Differently

Vicki LaPlant, VLE EnterprisesFirst, research indicates that men’s brains are about 10% larger than the brains of women.  Some women might say that also accounts for them often having a “Big Head” (pun intended). In fact, some researchers believe that is exactly why men do have larger brains. In general all aspects of a man’s anatomy are larger than a woman’s so it's only to be expected that the heads of men and, therefore their brains are larger.

Research also indicates that men have about 6.5 times more gray matter than women — meaning more thinking capability. But this does not equate to men being smarter.  Women’s brains have approximately 9.5 times more white matter than a man’s brain — meaning more connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain.

Researchers found that connections in a male brain most often run between the front and the back of the left side of the brain. However for women the connections are most often from side-to-side, connecting the left and right hemispheres, allowing a woman’s brain to work faster than a man’s.