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Home » Time for action to expand cooling sector’s career appeal to women – global survey

Time for action to expand cooling sector’s career appeal to women – global survey

  • marimac 

OIP LogoResearch into the RACHP sector has set out some of the barriers preventing the sector from benefitting from the recruitment and training of more women.

Concerns about career development and work flexibility are hampering ambitions to expand the number of women working across the cooling sector. These are the findings of new industry research set out in the ‘Women In Cooling: a worldwide survey’ that has identified a range of challenges in attracting women to train and bring their skills to the RACHP sector.

The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) said that the survey identified significant scope to plug demand for expertise across the RACHP sector by promoting the environmental importance of the industry’s work and making companies more supportive of the career needs of women.

The claims have been made in response to a survey of 810 women working in the HVACR sector around the world that has just been published.  The research was conducted by a range of individuals representing industry trade bodies such as the IIR and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

These individuals include Dr Catarina Marques, a senior research fellow at London South Bank University and president of the IIR Working Group on Careers in Refrigeration. She worked with Dr Ina Colombo-Youla, the IIR’s deputy director general and Sonja Wagner, programme director for UNEP’s OzonAction programme on the study.


The latest survey warns that women continue to be underrepresented across the cooling sector – making up six per cent of the estimated memberships of trade bodies and other industry organisations. These figures were based on the IIR’s own research.

The research set out several recommendations about attracting women to the sector, as well as identifying some of the main challenges on recruiting them.

These challenges included fears about limited opportunities for career advancement and a lack of access to training for continued skills development. Other issues were linked to ongoing prejudice and stereotyping of women from clients or customers, as well as a lack of visible women and role models working across different parts of the sector.

The survey also reported that the sector needed to ensure a healthy work-life balance was possible for individuals at different stages of their career to help retain experienced workers.

It stated: “Companies can help women achieve a healthier work-life balance by adapting their human resources policies. For instance, they could allow flexible working hours and remote working where possible as well as fair pregnancy and maternity leave policies. The limited training and career development opportunities in the sector is a wider issue that will require national organisations and industry to work together on a solution.”

Recommendations for change

In order to address these issues, the survey’s authors have called for regional associations and trade bodies to look more specifically at local issues and how they can be collectively addressed.

Businesses are meanwhile being asked to update and revise their HR and work policies to rethink training, work-life balance, parental support and pay discrepancies between men and women.

Activities to highlight the work of the RACHP to address demand for sustainability and low carbon innovation should also be put at the front of recruitment programmes and initiatives, the survey recommended. Just over 65 per cent of respondents to the survey said they highly valued the environmental focus of their work and the opportunity to focus on energy efficiency and meeting changing environmental regulations.

The survey stated: “In order to draw in more women and young girls, training programmes could focus on environmental and sustainability-related courses, through either an experiential exposure or informational awareness of the link between sustainability themes and the profession.”

It was recommended in the findings that new campaigns were needed to help attract a larger number of young people to undertake educational and vocational training that could directly benefit the work of the RACHP sector.

The survey also highlighted the importance of better promoting and encouraging individuals already working in the sector to engage with the International Network of Women in Cooling (INWIC).

This would allow more people to help take part in the organisation’s programmes and initiatives such as networking and mentoring projects, as well as internships and other work designed to promote the cooling sector as a career.