Last year, the ASA Education Foundation sponsored a workforce study to get the facts on the realities of our aging workforce and the challenges ahead.

I don’t think anyone was surprised to find out the industry is in desperate need of qualified employees in order to sustain business going forward. But to see the stats in black and white is surely a wakeup call for all of us.

Here’s what we learned:

  • 200,000 - The current total employee count in the PHCP and industrial PVF industry.
  • 50,000 - 25% of the current PHCP/PVF workforce will exit the industry in the next 10 years
  • 100,000 - A staggering 50% will leave in the next 20 years.
  • 8,000 - Less than 4% of our current workforce is under the age of 24.
  • 50,000 - Only 25% of the current PHCP/PVF industry workforce is women, yet the total available workforce consists of more than 50% women.

That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news. The American Supply Association is working on many levels to help attract new and younger employees into this industry. Through a massive career initiative, ASA is reaching out to high schools, technical schools, colleges and military veterans to market, inform and attract new workers into our industry. And with a specific focus on capturing the attention of women, ASA formed the ASA Women in Industry Division about three years ago. As the fastest-growing division within the association, we’ve certainly struck a chord within the industry.

Today’s PHCP and industrial PVF industry not only is expanding at a rapid rate, it also is becoming more dynamic every day. ASA has represented an industry traditionally dominated by men, but we now are seeing more women entering our workforce and moving into leadership roles within the industry. Women leaders have blazed the trail for many more currently rising through the ranks of industry firms and ASA WII is here to support them on
all levels.

As a progressive trade group, ASA sees tremendous value in the expanded roles women are occupying. Collaboratively, we must ensure the path progresses and benefits our industry and member companies’ profitability and performance. ASA WII will help to foster this growing employee base with a focus on how ASA can empower women and provide them with the opportunity to connect – through education, information and engagement.

The division offers many opportunities throughout the year to network and learn. Held at the end of April, the annual ASA Women in Industry Spring Conference certainly is the highlight of the year. Just last month, 130 women from locations throughout North America came together to hear from accomplished and powerful women who offered their insight and vision to help boost confidence and the ability to succeed. Additionally, the division offers educational webinars and informational articles throughout the year on topics top-of-mind to the women in our industry. It also holds an annual networking reception in conjunction with ASA’s annual NETWORK event every fall.

As a way to stay connected to the new and younger generation of workers, the division provides promotional videos for the prospective workforce and its presence on social media helps to further connect and communicate our mission. A new Mentor Match program was just rolled out (see sidebar) to connect women early in their careers or those new to the industry with seasoned veterans to help navigate the day-to-day issues and concentrate on career development. We’re also excited to announce a new initiative that you will hear more about in the coming year – a partnership with industrial distribution colleges to not only encourage more women to enter into the programs, but also to connect them with our member companies for employment.

“Bringing women in our industry together, facilitating connection with other women to foster professional and personal growth and increasing visibility of women in our industry, which will support attracting women to seek careers in our industry, will benefit everyone in our industry,”  ASA Executive Vice President Michael Adelizzi said.  “Over the coming years, as this group grows, ASA hopes WII will help women to connect with each other with the goal to increase involvement, visibility and broaden networking of women in the channel.”

But don’t take it from us. Here is what members of the division are saying:

“Women in Industry has been an incredible tool for my career these past three years.”

“WII is providing the professional connections and development opportunities that our up-and-coming female business leaders need to be successful in their careers.”

“I think this organization is such a benefit to all involved. Thank-you for always changing, updating and creating these resources and programs to suit
our needs!”

“Love the group and glad to see it is growing.”

“This was a very positive and meaningful experience. I was fortunate enough to bring some colleagues so that we can continue the conversation among ourselves until the next opportunity to network arises.”

“Being a woman in a male-dominated industry can be a little intimidating. It has been great to network with other women who are dealing with the same workplace challenges and share ideas on how to move forward.”

“Knowing that our work will help to attract more women into our industry is the ultimate reward.”


Be a part of the future of the industry. For more information on the division, or to join, visit