The number of women working in the trades in the UK have increased by 120% in ten years
- 21% of women in the UK considered a career in the trades during the first year of the pandemic
- 15% of women already working in the trades saw record highs in demand during that time
- There has been a 366% increase in women doing trade apprenticeships
- The most popular trade is painters and decorators, accounting for 33% of tradeswomen
Fix Radio discuss the opportunities that are available for women working in the trade
Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8th March, Fix Radio shed light on the biggest challenges faced by women who work in the trades industry. The trades profession suffers from one of the worst levels of gender representation with women making up less than 1% (0.99%) of carpenters and joiners in the UK, and less than 4% of electricians, plumbers, floorers, and tilers – according to a Censuswide survey. The pay gap is also a massive barrier for women in the trades who are still significantly underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts by an average of £7,115 as stated by GoCompare.
While women are still facing many challenges in an industry that remains predominantly male-dominated, there are good indicators that change is starting to happen. There were an estimated 15,000 tradeswomen working in 2009 compared to 33,000 in 2019 – an increase of 120% in ten years – according to Direct Line. The pandemic underlined the appeal of the industry for many women, with a growing understanding that these roles might offer job security and a source of reliable work in uncertain times. Fix Radio found that 21% of women in the UK considered a career in the trades during the first year of the pandemic and 15% of women who were already working within the trades saw record highs in demand during that time.
This shift in public perception is further highlighted by a recent study carried out by GoCompare which found that more women were starting to take up the tools younger, with a 366% increase in females doing trade apprenticeships in the UK. The study also looked into the biggest trade jobs that women were stepping into. Leading the trade revolution were painters and decorators, accounting for 33% of all women with a trade, helping customers turn their homes and businesses into spaces to be proud of. In second place were plumbers, with 28.38% of women in the trade dedicated to fixing heating and fitting boilers, as well as installing bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Completing the top three were electricians, with 11.55% of tradeswomen pursuing careers as ‘sparkies’.