The Number Of Plumbing Job Openings and Average Earnings By State (Updated For 2020)
Plumbing is not an easy job. It’s physically demanding and there are many times when you simply have to get down and dirty. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Because of this, you want to get paid what you’re worth.
But how can you know what you’re worth? Or, if you have a plumbing business, how can you know set a fair and competitive rate to attract the best employees?
In the second part of our series based on Indeed.com plumbing job listings, we zoomed in on the job openings and pay rates in each state to give you a sense for the going rate for plumbing roles and competition for talent in your area. (Check out the first part for national salary data.)
We scaped all 2019 data to break down the number of jobs by state, how many of those jobs are entry, mid, and senior-level, and the average hourly rate for each state.
Number Of Plumbing Job Openings By State
First, let’s look at the overall number of plumbing job openings by state. This data can give you a sense of where hiring is the hottest.
The state with the highest number of plumbing jobs is California, with 7,018.
On the flip side, Wyoming has just 117 plumbing jobs listed statewide.
The state-by-state numbers track reasonably well with the overall populations of the states. This makes sense on an intuitive level. The more people live in a particular state, the more plumbing customers, the most plumbing businesses, and hence, the more plumbing jobs.
The data also suggests that you may have more success finding a job in a larger state such as California or Texas than in a smaller state such as Wyoming.
If you do live in a smaller state, you may find yourself having to fight harder to win a job as a plumber. On the flipside, plumbing business owners may have a more difficult time filling roles in a state with many open jobs for applicants to choose from.
Analyzing Plumbing Job Listings by Experience Level
Next, let’s look at the breakdown of the number of jobs according to whether they are an entry-level plumbing job, mid-level, or senior-level.
Again, this data can give you a sense of the lay of the land.
Depending on your overall level of experience, it can help you determine where you’re most likely to find a job. It can also give you a sense of the overall plumbing marketplace in terms of where the demand is for each type of position.
From the business side, if you’re looking to hire, you can make strategic decisions about whether to focus your search on entry- or mid-level applicants that may require some on-the-job training. Or, if there are only a few senior-level plumbing jobs up for grabs in your state, then perhaps your best bet is to hire a seasoned pro who can jump right in!
Entry-Level Plumbing Jobs
Just getting started in the plumbing industry? Here are the number of entry-level jobs available.
The state with the highest number of entry-level jobs is California, with 3,621 jobs.
The state with the least number of entry-level jobs is Wyoming, with 66 jobs.
Maybe you’ve been in the plumbing business for a few years and are looking for a mid-level job. Here are the states with the most and least mid-level jobs:
California also has the most mid-level jobs, with 2,484 posted jobs.
South Dakota has the least number of mid-level positions, with just 27 listings
You’ve got years of experience under your belt and you’re looking for a senior level job. Here are the best and worst states to find such a job.
California rounds out its dominance with 177 posted senior-level jobs
Montana, Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska, Delaware, and Vermont all only have a single senior-level job posted!
Again, this data seems to track with the overall population levels of the states. Those states with high populations generally have more jobs at all levels than smaller states (California in particular), thus making it more likely that you can secure a job as a plumber in higher population states, not accounting for potential increased competition from other job seekers.
Additionally--and perhaps paradoxically--the more years of experience, the harder may be to find a job in every state, given that there are few fewer senior-level listings than entry-level openings.
Average Earnings For Current Open Positions
Now, let’s examine the average earnings for the current open positions across all the states.
This data can give you a feel for what you might earn in any given state, as well as what you might consider paying your employees if you own a plumbing business and you’re looking to hire.
Note that the average earnings encompass all positions, all the way from the lowest roles, such as an Apprentice Plumber or temporary/hourly work, to the most-senior positions, such as a Master Plumber.
The national average hourly rate for all plumbing positions is $25.69.
The state with the highest average hourly rate is Delaware at $40.32/hour. This is 56.95% higher than the national average.
The state with the lowest average hourly rate is South Dakota at $14.11/hour. This is 45.08% lower than the national average.
Interestingly, both of these states have a relatively small number of job openings, suggesting that the average hourly rate may be tied to the overall cost of living in the state.
The data also suggests that competition for plumbing jobs in Delaware is probably significantly higher than in other states given the high average pay and the lower number of jobs. In general, hiring markets with a higher average hourly wage likely indicate a more competitive market for plumbing roles. But, that’s not always the case and can be impacted by other factors. A few jobs that pay particularly well or have a low pay rate can weight the average in one direction or another.
|State||Average Hourly Rate||% Of National Average|
|New York State||24.14||93.97%|
The biggest and most obvious takeaway is that the number of job openings (both total and by experience level) is commensurate with the population of any given state. The bigger a state’s population, the more need there is for plumbers.
California dominates in terms of the number of positions available. States with much smaller populations, such as Wyoming, have significantly fewer plumbing jobs available. These realities may shape where you search for a plumbing job.
If you’re hiring plumbers, you can also use this data to help guide your strategy. Again, it’s valuable to look at the breakdown of plumbing job listings in your state and see if you may have a better opportunity to hire an entry-, mid-, or senior-level employee.
Likewise, you can use your state’s average salary compared to the national average in order to inform the salary you offer.
For instance, if you’re hiring in West Virginia, the average role pays just 75% of the national average. So, if you want to hire quickly, you can set your salary higher than competitors (maybe aim for closer to the national average?) or you can hold out longer and match the salary being offered by other companies.
Looking forward, as the national labor market continues to tighten, it’s likely that wages will rise (especially for those who already know how to use plumbing software). Demand for plumbers may increase while competition for hiring will heat up -- driving up wages and making it more challenging to find qualified workers.
This has ramifications if you own a plumbing business. The amount you pay your employees most likely needs to be in line with the average cost of living in your state. If it’s not, you’ll have a difficult time finding qualified plumbers.
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