Most people in the pest management industry are white (78.5 percent) and male (76.7 percent), found the 2018 PCT-NPMA Workplace Diversity Survey. Two-thirds are between 35 and 64 years old; almost 12 percent are veterans (11.7 percent) and 3.5 percent have a disability.
“I think we have a hard time recruiting women, people of color. I think we do need to spend a lot of time working on that,” said Faye Golden, governmental affairs manager at Cook’s Pest Control in Decatur, Ala., and chair of NPMA’s Diversity Committee.
Women account for 83 percent of office staff and more than a quarter of managers. In follow-up interviews, PMPs said they’re aware of more women-owned pest management companies than in years past.
“The woman component has changed” with more daughters of company founders taking over and more women managers, said Sylvia Kenmuir, national director of technical training, Target Specialty Products, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. “I do see where we’re having that shift,” she said.
An average 8.4 percent of technicians are women, found the survey. At some companies this number is much higher. Seven of the 28 service technicians at American Pest Management in Manhattan, Kan., are women, said CEO Ravi Sachdeva, who also employs three veterans and two first responders.
And all residential service technicians will be women at Rosie’s Pest Control, a new venture of Pugh’s Earthworks landscaping company in Memphis, Tenn. Women customers relate better to women technicians, explained Mark Pugh, an owner of the company. Hiring women “was spurred by more of a niche and a need in the marketplace,” he said.
Technicians are the most ethnically diverse group (nearly a quarter are non-white) and accounted for the most veterans (10 percent).
Julio Camacho, owner of IPM Specialist in Soledad, Calif., said companies are more diverse at the technician level, but not so much at higher levels of management. “I just don’t know how much forward movement there is for those people down below,” he said.
As for age, managers were the oldest employees — about 60 percent were between 45 and 64 years — and field technicians were the youngest with almost half ranging in age from 25 to 44.
Rose Pest Solutions employs six generations from the 20s through the 80s. “We definitely do not discriminate based on age,” said Vice President of Operations Curtis Rand.