Why you should work in HVAC&R

The heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R) and building services industry can provide you with a rich, rewarding, and meaningful career.

For most people, their dream job probably doesn’t involve ideas of extensive ductwork or refrigerant phase-downs. Because of that, HVAC&R tends to be a career not frequently thought about unless previously experienced through a family member or friend in the field.

But HVAC&R is a defining feature of our modern existence – despite often being hidden away. While few people outside the industry talk about HVAC&R, it keeps us comfortable and productive. It even keeps us alive.

You should consider a career in HVAC&R building services because…

It's an essential service

HVAC&R is an essential industry where skilled and dedicated employees are in high demand. No two days are ever the same as you work with innovation, increasing demands for energy-efficient solutions, and the latest technology.

HVAC&R has a major role to play in environmental sustainability, energy use, and reducing carbon emissions, too. For more information on HVAC&R and climate change, please click here

You’ll have diverse responsibilities

From designing and manufacturing to commissioning and maintenance, the sector includes roles as diverse as mechanical engineers, refrigeration mechanics, technology specialists, salespeople, air conditioning technicians, educators, building services providers, and energy specialists.

As an industry, HVAC&R employs more than 300,000 people in Australia – and it continues to grow.

The HVAC&R industry is suitable for hands-on problem solvers

If you’re someone who enjoys problem solving and can cope with constantly evolving systems and changes of pace, then you’re probably heading in the right direction. It helps if you like technology and like to work with your hands and, if you’ve ever done a Myers Briggs personality test, you might have found yourself as an ISTP, ISFP, ESTP, or ISTJ.

There’s plenty of opportunity for career progression

Through training and professional development you’ll learn both technical and transferable skills for an industry in a constant state of development, with ongoing advances in sub-fields such as the application of big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT); energy efficient commercial/residential design; and more.

As long as humans live in buildings, they’ll need HVAC&R services and technology. And if this technology exists, people in the industry will be introducing innovations and ideas to push it forward.

You'll find yourself in a rewarding role

In 2019, AIRAH conducted a comprehensive analysis of salaries in the Australian HVAC&R industry. The salary survey was the first of its kind, conducted for HVAC&R professionals and practitioners across the sector.

A total of 491 industry professionals responded, with half of those surveyed reporting a gross annual base salary of $100,000 or more, and 41 per cent of respondents in the $60,000–$99,999 range.

Find more information on the HVAC&R industry’s growth in Australia with the Australian Government’s Labour Market Information Portal and Job Outlook – your guide to Australian careers.

There’s room for everyone

It’s also important to note that the industry has welcomed an active push for gender equality and diversity in the workforce. This can lead to a more innovative environment and, because there’s a larger demand for female engineers than there is supply, firms are competing for these candidates and even offering higher compensation.

Universities and TAFEs are also actively aware of the low enrolment rate in their programs and are encouraging women to enrol. Some places such as Victoria University have also introduced student-run initiatives like the Women in Science & Engineering Club.

More broadly, Australia’s HVAC&R and building services industry strives for diversity and inclusion. AIRAH actively encourages involvement of professionals from all cultures and backgrounds.

For those interested in immigrating to Australia to work in HVAC&R and building services, high-demand jobs in the sector are listed in the federal government’s skilled occupation list. This includes mechanical engineers, technicians and draftspeople; building and engineering technicians; and air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics.