Women in cooling survey reveals global challenges

The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) has published a new report surveying 810 women worldwide working in the HVAC&R sector, to better understand their careers, challenges, motivation, and opportunities.

According to the report, more than 15 million people are employed worldwide in the HVAC&R industry, with the under-representation of women evidenced by the fact that only 6 per cent of members of national refrigeration organisations are women.

“As the need for [HVAC&R] professionals continues to grow, a high potential can be unleashed by encouraging women to pursue education and job opportunities in this sector,” says the report.

Of the respondents, 59 per cent were under 40 years of age, and most respondents worked in Asia (34 per cent) and Europe (33 per cent).

Half of the women surveyed held postgraduate degrees, indicating a low percentage of respondents working in servicing (8 per cent). Half worked in either design or R&D (22 per cent), in sales and marketing (15 per cent), or held academic and teaching roles (13 per cent).

The report also looked at longevity, and found that 47 per cent of women working in the HVAC&R sector have done so for more than 10 years. However, only one out of five women had been promoted twice in the last 10 years, while 24 per cent had never been promoted, suggesting limited career progression opportunities.

Women identified the top five challenges of working in the industry as difficulty with work-life balance, lack of career advancement opportunities, stereotypes or prejudice about women (from clients or customers), lack of female colleagues, and limited training opportunities.

The report recommended further surveys and initiatives to overcome these challenges, and to encourage women in their field of interest within the industry – often related to the environment and sustainability.

It also recommended focused campaigns to attract more young people and women to educational and training disciplines or joining the HVAC&R workforce, as well as increased engagement with the International Network of Women in Cooling (INWIC).

Read the full report here.

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist.

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