Building trades thriving – but where are the women? Building services trades offer women excellent pay and prospects – so why are so few joining up?
This is a question being asked by AXA, whose recent research revealed building trades as the leading source of self-employment in the UK, with start-up trades businesses turning an early profit, earning more and going full-time quicker than other professionals.
Women in the trades
According to AXA customer data:
- 2% of those working in the trades are women
- Women account for just 1.8% of ‘white van’ drivers!
But despite these figures, those women who have picked up the tools of the trade are thriving:
- Average take-home pay for a tradeswomen is £1,660, that £630 more than those working in the professional, retails and service sectors.
- 9 out of 10 rate their business a success
- 2 out of 3 confident their business will grow in 2017
One of the reasons put forward to explain why women are severely underrepresented is that longer hours may not fit in with those juggling childcare with work. Tradespeople work 41 hours per week on average, compared to 32 hours in other sector.
Another possible reason is that traditional routes into the trades often pass outside of the educational system, for example apprenticeships or businesses passed “father to son”, which may be alienating women from a young age.
“This means the trades are rarely promoted to girls when they are making their career choices, even though training to be a plumber or electrician could be as good – if not a better – option than university for many,” said Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, AXA Business Insurance. “Seventy-two per cent of women surveyed last year said they thought the ‘cowboy’ stereotype was true of tradespeople. There is definitely an image problem there, and it is deeply unfair.”
“Jobs for the Girls”
Aiming to change the low uptake of women in building services professions, NICEIC launched its “Jobs for the Girls” campaign in 2011, which has just been nominated for a gong at this years’ Women in Construction Awards.
You can find out more about the campaign here.
Are you tradeswomen?
How did you get into the sector?
What’s it like working in a male dominated industry?
Tweet us @Logic4training with your views!