Home Improvement and Repairs

Why Is It So Hard To Find A Good Appliance Repair Worker?

The global pandemic brought about many changes in the already fragile supply chain of appliance manufacturing.

The global pandemic brought about many changes in the already fragile supply chain of appliance manufacturing. Trade disputes between countries and factories turning their resources to making protective equipment resulted in shortages in major appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and humidifiers. Because of this, people are not changing their old household appliances, choosing instead to have them repaired. This shortage led to a boom in the service industry of appliance repair — a phenomenon opposite to the prediction made by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. The research estimates a decline of 6.9 percent from 38,400 to 35,800 workers from 2019 to 2029.

While the hospitality and travel industries are struggling to survive, the need for appliance service technicians exploded. The Covid-19 pandemic forced people to stay at home or move back home, all adjusting with living with children, parents, or extended family 24/7 putting more wear and tear on household appliances.  

With the high demand for appliance technicians, booking a technician to repair broken appliances can take up to a month before one becomes available. And if you get lucky enough to get a maintenance specialist to come to your house, you find out that they are nothing more than someone who replaces parts, lacking the skills expected of a repair technician.

This skill gap results from very few schools in appliance repair. In the United States, there are only two schools that specialize in appliance repair: The Dyer Appliance Repair Academy in Fort Worth, Texas and Fred’s Appliance Academy in Madison, Ohio. 

People who don’t go to school to learn about appliance repair but work as appliance repair technicians learn everything they know on the job. They are usually good at taking things apart and putting things back together but lack the knowledge to analyze schematics and electronics found in modern appliances. While they may have adequate skills, they do not polish their training to a level that will help them cope with the complexity and upgrades of modern-day appliances.

Another reason for the very few numbers of capable appliance technicians is that participation in trade-based, in-school learning programs like shop (Industrial Arts), which encourages students to be future electric repair technicians or plumbers, have dwindled over the years. Very few students are interested in participating in it, choosing instead to focus on the arts and humanities. In an interview with CNBC, CEO and chief strategist of Quill Intelligence, Danielle Di Martino Booth encourages parents to change their mindset about their children’s education by shepherding their children to recession-proof careers. 

The pandemic brought to light the need for appliance repair technicians — a job that before the pandemic, very few people even knew was a career option. Before the pandemic hit, many popular online job boards hardly had any listing for appliance repair technicians.

The pandemic bought an increased number of people who are interested in appliance repair. These people are a combination of the youth who chose appliance repair as their career and workers from other industries retraining their skills to the now more lucrative job of repair technicians. This mentality change is reflected in the number of students enrolled in appliance repair schools when they opened up after lockdown. The classes are complete, and the schools even had to waitlist students — a significant improvement from their usual 65 percent enrollment rate.

Perhaps when this pandemic is over, we’ll see the rise of more well-trained technicians, and this means that we don’t have to wait so long to have our appliances fixed.


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