Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

risk level
Based on 491 votes
by year 2032
or $28.89 per hour
as of 2022

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Automation risk

21% (Low Risk)

Low Risk (21-40%): Jobs in this level have a limited risk of automation, as they demand a mix of technical and human-centric skills.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions

  • Finger Dexterity

  • Manual Dexterity

User poll

21% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted there's a low chance this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 21% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Slow growth relative to other professions.

The number of 'Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters' job openings is expected to rise 1.9% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Moderately paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters' was $60,090, or $28 per hour

'Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters' were paid 29.8% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Significantly greater range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 427,920 people employed as 'Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters' within the United States.

This represents around 0.29% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 345 people are employed as 'Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters'.

Job description

Assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems. Includes sprinkler fitters.

SOC Code: 47-2152.00


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Leave a comment

Carl Wyatt (Low) says
I can envisage machines installing plumbing and heating in new builds however most plumbing tasks such as repairs/maintenance or installations on old buildings require dexterity and flexibility which are difficult criteria's for machines to meet. I'm sure it'll be possible one day but I believe plumbing to be one of the last professions to be automated.
Jul 04, 2021 at 10:07 PM
Pierce (Low) says
Robots can't think critically to solve unusual problems that are always guaranteed to happen.
May 16, 2021 at 01:58 PM
Frank (No chance) says
How in the world, in the relatively near future, will automation enter a job site and set a toilet for example???? Ridiculous!!
Apr 13, 2021 at 11:02 AM
Elon Musk says
The probability of a robot being able to diagnose a plumbing or drain issue and have the engineering benefit of that being in development is possibly more likely for new construction rather than residential services or retro construction in the next 30 if at all ever.
Apr 13, 2021 at 05:24 AM
Nathan Wood (Low) says
Unless they are all pre fabricated buildings. No robot will be able to do repairs, fit in a crawl hole or remodel a home or office either.
Dec 30, 2020 at 02:38 AM
bringthon (No chance) says
no chance lol forget it..

manual skilled jobs will be hard to replace but they will evolve
Aug 09, 2020 at 09:39 PM
lol (No chance) says
I'm not sure if robot could do this correctly, or if it will be cheaper than from human beings
Jul 02, 2020 at 09:11 AM
Josh says
I would have preferred a robot from 1994 than the spud who did my bathroom refurb!
Jun 09, 2020 at 09:34 AM
Andreas (Low) says
In buildings or industrial facilities where there is a standardised infrastructure built with all used parts digitised in an archive, maybe. But everything with existing infrastructure needs the experience of humans to decide and take action. However, it would be awesome to have a robot with me at work doing stuff like heavy lifts, cleaning, carrying equipment and parts.
May 09, 2020 at 05:58 PM
Mister man (No chance) says
While I understand the seemingly repetitive nature of pipe work, it strikes me as the sort of business that takes a lot more figuring than more repetitive work, such as cashiering
Mar 10, 2020 at 05:54 PM
Marty (No chance) says
Are robots going to go into people's homes to deal with plumbing issues? I highly doubt it.
Jan 27, 2020 at 07:17 PM
Franklin (Low) says
I think robots capable of this are decades away and when they do arrive it will probably be cheaper to hire a human.
Dec 21, 2019 at 09:57 AM
Phillip (No chance) says
I just don't see how your gonna get a robot to come to a house, diagnose the plumbing issue and then perform the work to fix it. Thats a complex task and modern robots can still only reliably perform the simplest of tasks. The tech is a long ways away and even if it weren't I don't feel like replacing plumbers would the first thing on the agenda for that tech.
May 23, 2019 at 10:58 PM
Kenn says
Well instead of the robot coming into houses it would be a robot per household capable of completing any plumbing, carpentry, pretty much any trade repair needed within that household. That robot would he owned by the family and essentially a crazy advanced butler. The tech is def not in the next decade but 15-30 years from now it's quite a possibility.
Nov 24, 2020 at 10:50 AM
Kenny (Low) says
Would need very good robots to do this.
May 07, 2019 at 05:57 AM

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