Pro Plumber Profile

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Professional Plumbers - Key Demographics And Psychographic Trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall job market is "expected to be good, and many plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters will be needed to replace those who are expected to retire over the next 10 years."

We were able to locate some key demographics for professional plumbers in the United States. Some of this data required triangulation to produce results that were relevant to 2017 and 2018, as the sources gave data from 2015. We have included the calculations we used to arrive at these numbers in our write-up below, as well as a spreadsheet we constructed. We were also able to find some information relating to the psychographic trends pertaining to plumbers working in the field, and we have written about those in the form of pros and cons, and the effects of new technology in the plumbing industry.

Key Demographics

In 2017, the number of plumbers in the workforce in the United States is approximately 93,405. The average workforce age for professional plumbers in 2017 was 39. The average wage in the workforce for 2017 is $103,942. The median pay in 2016 was around $25 an hour or $50,000 a year. Plumbers are required to have high school diplomas or the equivalent. Therefore, I assume it is highly probably that the majority of plumbers do not have college degrees.

"Workers with knowledge of Building Information Modeling (BIM) should have the best job opportunities as integrated building-planning abilities increase in demand."


The above statistics were triangulated from the data provided for 2015 from Data USA, October 2017. The key figures used were from 2015, indicating the percentage of growth or decline per year. The attached spreadsheet details the calculations that were undertaken.

For the average wage in the workforce, we multiplied the 2015 value by 9.7% (the annual percentage of increase) then added it to the original 2015 figure to get figures for 2016, and then again for 2017, and finally the projection for 2018.

For the total number in the workforce, and average workforce age, the 2015 figure (the annual percentage of decline) is deducted using -2.85% and -0.72% respectively to get the figures for 2016 through to 2018. The results show that the number of plumbers in the workforce, and the average age of plumbers is currently in decline. Once again, these calculations are detailed in the attached spreadsheet we have provided for you.

Digging deeper into these demographic trends, we wanted to find out why the number of plumbers and their average age is currently in decline. It appears that many experienced plumbers are reaching retirement age and there are fewer people training to take their place. There is also a perceived stigma to the trade industry that has grown over the past 50 years. There is a lack of training programs, and funding for such programs, as well as trades not being promoted to secondary school students looking for future career choices.


For the psychographic trends of how plumbers view their jobs, we used interviews from professional plumbers to find out how plumbers are feeling about their jobs, as well as pros and cons described by the industry in general.

— Required to work on weekends and evenings. This could mean working more than 8 hours per day and in excess of 40 hours per week.
Regular on-call work to enable timely response to emergencies.
Frequent injuries such as burns, cuts and falls.

Daily customer interaction, including educating the public.

PLUMBING Industry growth

There are currently more than 480,000 plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting jobs in the USA. Overall, the plumbing industry is growing faster than most industries (16% CAGR) with a forecast of 75,000 jobs to be added by the end of 2026.

Current Plumbing Industry Trends

Customer demographics and technology are changing the landscape of the plumbing industry. Customers in 2018 are more likely to search on Google for ratings and are therefore more likely to rely on price and convenience rather than loyalty when choosing a plumbing service. The industry itself is also becoming more high-tech, introducing technological solutions to solve problems such as using diagnostic tools.

According to the BLS, "Most demand for plumbers will stem from new construction and the need to maintain and repair plumbing systems in existing residences and other buildings. Employment of sprinklerfitters is expected to increase as states continue to adopt changes to building codes that require the use of fire suppression systems." Overall, the plumbing industry fluctuate with the economy, so there will be good and bad times to come.
There is much more information available about these trends, however we feel they are beyond the scope of this research question and would be better answered in another request.


To wrap up, we were able to locate some key demographics for professional plumbers in the United States. The number of professional plumbers in the workforce, and the average age of plumbers for 2017 showed a decline at 93,405 and 39 respectively. The average wage for professional plumbers for 2017 was $103,942, and is showing an increasing trend.

Psychographic trends for plumbers centered around job satisfaction for helping others, a sense of accomplishment, customer interaction, and also increasingly high salaries. At the other end of the scale, negative feelings about this field of work exist due to long working hours, perceived stigma, regular on-call work and on-site injuries. There is currently a shortage of plumbers overall, due to a combination of all the above factors, but predominantly relating to failing to replace retiring, experienced plumbers. More funding for training programs and better promotion of the plumbing industry as a career prospect to secondary school students was listed as a possible solution to the declining workforce.