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Service Industry Overview

Demand for skilled work remains high in the service industry. Homeowners need services such as electrical checks and overhauling, waste handling, plumbing and pipefitting, landscaping, and general lawn care. Corporate offices benefit from the same services as well as uniform manufacturing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth rates of 13% to 21% for jobs in the services work sector over the next ten years, which should result in widespread opportunities for employment in various capacities.

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Types of Positions

Electricians specialize in inspecting, installing, and repairing circuitry, components, and wiring, regularly working from blueprints or schematics. Currently, over 580,000 people hold employment as electricians in the United States. Plumbers fit pipes and ensure the continual running of water and steam. Dumps, landfills, and recycling plants obtain materials as removal workers transport the refuse. More than 1.2 million landscapers and groundskeepers presently work to maintain lawns, gardens, and landscapes. The acronym HVACR refers to heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration, and workers under the heading bear responsibility for relevant services. In addition, apartment complexes and office buildings hire maintenance workers responsible for many of the above duties on site.

Job Duties

Daily tasks differ significantly by trade; however, most service occupations share some commonalities. Workers remain standing or otherwise physically active for a majority of daily responsibilities. Functioning job by job for different clients, laborers frequently carry out minor variations of the same work. Consequently, workers possess the capability of consistently performing tasks to nearly identical specifications in order to uphold high standards of quality. Many positions require employees to explain the services performed to customers and provide invoices.

Salary Information

Pay in the service industry varies by specific occupation. Landscapers earn around $11.50 by the hour, while most refuse and recycling workers make approximately $15.00 per hour. The median hourly pay rates for HVACR workers, plumbers, and electricians stand at $20.98, $23.62 and $23.96, respectively.

How to Get a Service Job

Adept hand-eye coordination and precise attention to detail benefit service workers. Physical stamina and strength also prove essential in much of the labor carried out daily by service workers. Most service jobs require candidates 18 years of age or older. Often, workers need specialized training or to complete an apprenticeship to work in certain services jobs, some or all of which may occur on the site. Generally, high school diplomas or equivalents open many doors for entry-level services applicants.

Service Industry Job Descriptions

Landscaper/Groundskeeper – Responsible for maintaining outdoor areas for homes, businesses, and parks, a groundskeeper must keep spaces attractive, healthy, and free of invasive species. Primarily available as seasonal employment, certain companies do provide year-round work as well. Duties may include frequent repetitive actions and may prove physically demanding, with the need to bend, kneel, lift, and operate equipment. Most training remains on-the-job with minimal hiring requirements, including possession of either a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some positions may remain available for workers under 18 as long as employers follow child labor laws for the state in which employed. Landscapers may earn up to $12.00 an hour, with specializations such as tree trimmers earning up to $20.00 in hourly wages.

Sanitation Worker – A sanitation worker may perform several duties depending on the place of employment, though the most common work performed remains employ as a sanitation or garbage collector. Variably working for municipalities or for private waste management firms, a sanitation worker performs various duties related to trash collecting. Duties include physically removing and loading garbage from homes and businesses, driving the truck from location to location, and sorting trash from recyclables. Other sanitation work may include working at landfills, sewage treatment plants, and recycling facilities. Garbage collectors may need certain specialized driver’s licenses, though other hiring requirements typically stand at the minimum, with most training coming after hire. Sanitation workers may earn up to $16.00 per hour.

Maintenance/Janitor – As a high school diploma or GED may stand as the only hiring requirement necessary, work as a janitor may prove one of the most accessible jobs in the service industry. A janitor or general maintenance worker typically must ensure that a building and related grounds remain clean, orderly, and in functional repair. Responsibilities typically include sweeping and mopping floors, emptying trash, cleaning windows, dusting, and waxing floors. Certain employers may also expect additional maintenance work, such as minor plumbing, electrical, and general handiwork. While most duties fall indoors, certain employers may specify that the immediate surrounding outdoors must stay kept up as well. Outdoor tasks may include sweeping and shoveling walkways, mowing lawns, and exterior painting. Janitors tend to make hourly wages around $10.00.