Women in trade: construction is hungry for new talent

women in trade

When asked what an average skilled trades worker looks like, many will automatically picture the stereotypical tradesman. But this comes as no surprise because despite the growing interest, women continue to be outnumbered across the UK construction sector while the industry faces a growing skills gap.

According to the latest ONS figures, of the 2.1 million people currently employed in the construction industry, only 15% are women. However, Trade-Up‘s most recent independent survey – conducted by Censuswide across the UK – reveals that 31% of individuals are likely to consider becoming a tradesperson. Notably, this trend extends to women, with one in four open to skilled trades.

The benefits of women pursuing a career in trade

For women (and men), there are practical barriers which stand in the way of enabling adult learners to pivot into a career in trade. These include limited routes to entry as well as costly and time-consuming training programmes. But as the country faces a huge labour shortage, now is a fantastic opportunity for the industry to pave the way for adults and future generations who think a trade career could be for them. This can be achieved by delivering quality training and providing a network filled with opportunities.

“The construction and trade industries are hungry for talent, and there is a clear appetite to pursue a career in this space. The focus now is on shattering the glass ceiling and bridging the divide to build an industry that is not only inclusive, but welcoming,” says Melanie Waters, Managing Director of Trade-Up.

Exploring the reasons behind the growing interest in trade, our survey revealed the following topped the list of key motivations:

  • Flexibility (38%)
  • Good salary prospects (32%)
  • A growing sector (30%)
  • Stability (30%)

Respondents who are not satisfied with their current career are particularly attracted to the sector’s flexibility and salary prospects.

Yet aside from the practical barriers, confidence was deemed the biggest obstacle for 53% of women, with the perception of not having the right skills or meeting industry stereotypes.

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