Business Growth

Why We Need More Women in HVAC and Why You Should Consider the Industry

HVAC in Australia

The trades in Australia are part of our economic and cultural lives. High schoolers thinking about their future are often told to pick university or TAFE and go from there. Apprentices start earning during their studies and often graduate with job offers. It’s a very attractive path for anyone, and with so many skilled trades out there, it’s easy to see how anyone can find the right fit for them. 

But it’s also no secret that trades in Australia are male-dominated industries, with workforce percentages for every industry heavily skewed towards men. Statistics on the percentage of women in the industry are tricky to find, but industry organisations report that only about 6% of their members are women. 

For women looking to enter the trades, that statistic alone is a daunting barrier to entry, and shaking up any industry ‘standard’ comes with a fair share of difficulty. But the positive news is that the numbers are shifting. Workplaces need different perspectives, a wider talent pool and tangible diversity to thrive against the threat of an ever-changing world. Women entering HVAC offer all these perks and more, and they are already making changes to the HVAC industry, and so can you.

But why HVAC?

HVAC, or HVAC&R (shout out to our refrigeration experts, we see you), is a booming trade that continues to grow yearly. Standing for Heating, Ventilation and Air Cooling (and Refrigeration), this trade covers everything from engineering and designing climate systems to fitting, installation, service management, and coordinating projects.

HVAC is as hands-on as other trades and requires a mind for planning, problem-solving and a drive to learn and adapt. Don’t believe what other tradespeople tell you, though! HVAC&R isn’t limited to servicing air conditioners and fridges. Women in HVAC have the option to become technicians, engineers, coordinators, project managers and more.

Because all trade apprenticeships start with technical skills, it can be easy to overlook the less tangible skills that make an experienced HVAC technician an exceptional tradesperson. Skills like multi-tasking, time management and attention to detail aren’t skills that everyone possesses naturally, but they are crucial for working in HVAC and if they come easily to you, then this could be the career you’ve been looking for. 

Additionally, if you’re passionate about sustainability, health, science or engineering, you’ll be happy to hear that HVAC provides a hands-on role that gets you directly involved in these areas. You can make a difference by being part of a trade that’s actively pushing for progress in the field of sustainable homes and businesses. 

Plus, and probably most importantly, HVAC technicians are in high demand and well compensated for their efforts. As we mentioned earlier, HVAC apprentices are also paid a wage during training, providing you with a source of income while you study. That’s right, as a woman, you don’t need to sacrifice a steady income while studying to land your dream job; in fact, you’ll be paid for the privilege instead!

Did someone inspire you to start your journey toward joining the HVAC industry? Sometimes, it can be inspirational when we see a person in a role we don’t expect, like female tradies or male nurses. It’s a reminder that we can be what we want to be, even if society has said otherwise for the longest time. You, too, can be a role model for other women looking to join the trades.

This is an industry that provides options for learning, personal development, and making a difference. Sometimes, workplaces for women can feel limited or have nowhere for you to progress. Students and those already employed can feel that female-dominated roles, such as teachers, nurses, childcare workers, etc., aren’t the right fit for them.

Well, if those industries are starting to balance their numbers with more and more men joining, why can’t it be the other way around? If the fit is right, a woman in HVAC can make the most of their potential in a job with huge potential for progression and success. 

Support for Women in HVAC

Women in HVAC might feel out of place or, at times, unwelcome in their workplace. Others have made it their mission to use their position to the fullest, encouraging and empowering other women to join the trades. 

Feeling isolated among a majority-male workforce is an obstacle many women face. Women going into the trades or other male-dominated industries might hear from others that it isn’t a place for them, or they should try a different career. It can make it hard. 

But no one else is going to be doing your studies, no one else is in your shoes to do the work and the hard yards. It can be difficult, but it’s always up to you. There are Australian and international groups taking the initiative to support women in HVAC and encourage more women to join and develop the industry.

AIRAH Initiatives

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heating is an Australian industry body representing everyone in the HVAC&R sector. They support training, work, and further learning in the industry for all their members. 

AIRAH has set up their own initiative to challenge the gender imbalance in the industry, Women of AIRAH, targeted to empower and encourage more women to join the industry. They offer training, support and networking for women in HVAC, and have directly challenged and campaigned against the gender pay gap in the industry. 

Membership is open to anyone in the industry, and they provide targeted support for women in HVAC and those looking to join.


Climate Control News is an independent Australian publication that services the HVAC&R industry. They cover technology, the changing climate, industry/business developments and highlight promising and prominent members of the trade, including women in HVAC apprenticeships and roles.

In fact, CCN has their own page for women in HVAC, highlighting the many women in the industry, from those who have recently started to industry veterans, business owners, and those who have made a career change into HVAC. 

These stories are a great look into what the trade can provide for women in HVAC and where a career might take you. 

Tradeswomen Australia

TWA is a national organisation supporting women in the trades with the mission of safe and secure workplaces for all. This is more general than just HVAC support, but women in HVAC or interested in the industry can find out more from their website. 

They offer mentorships and school programs to create a positive change and support women, whether they are still studying or are looking to make a career change with their Remade for Trades program. Women in HVAC can contact them for help with employment, development and networking, or anything else that might have trouble navigating. 

HVAC Careers and Businesses

The highest percentage of all small businesses in Australia is in trades, at 17%, and the benefit of working in the industry is your services can be utilised anywhere. Women in HVAC can take advantage of the strong small business climate and take control of their earnings.

HVAC itself is growing as more residential, commercial, and industrial buildings require sustainable climate systems, management, and maintenance. The pandemic revealed the importance of top-notch ventilation systems. There has never been such demand for our homes, businesses and industry to keep on top of things for everyone’s health and comfort. 

It also benefits from evolving technology. Women in HVAC don’t have to be restricted to one path or business; there’s a whole atmosphere of knowledge out there. If you’ve got the drive, there’s no telling how far your career can go. 

The Future of Women in HVAC

Women in HVAC can start their own businesses, and it’s never been more accessible. Many in the industry find roles and workplaces that suit them well, and many also take the option to start their own business. It’s up to you and where your career takes you.

HVAC is a trade women should be in. It’s a largely untapped talent pool in the trades, and that’s to the detriment of the industry as a whole. It can be challenging, but things don’t change without effort. If the trades are something you want or want to be in a role that matches your passions, HVAC could be for you.

With the support of organisations, industry partners, and the general wider understanding that jobs are what we make them, not strictly for one gender or another, the role of women in HVAC grows. You can be part of that growth, too! 

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