New research has found that careers in construction trades are not being considered by women despite a strong public desire to see more females in the sector. Shockingly almost three quarters of the East Midlands (85%) have never encountered a female in any of the main construction trades roles of plumber, electrician, carpenter or builder even though almost nine in ten (88%) the East Midlands would like to see more women in such roles. Yet, more than eight in ten (94%) of women surveyed from the region have never even considered a career in the industry.
The survey commissioned by Able Skills, specialists in construction training, found that only one in ten (15%) of the people surveyed from the East Midlands had encountered a female in these roles. Of those, (88%) described the service received as positive and would recommend the service to others. None reported a negative experience.
However, why are there so few women considering a role within the construction trades industry? Women reported that the career was never highlighted as an option for them to pursue. Furthermore, more than three quarters (87%) of women said no family, friends, careers advisors or teachers had ever discussed a career in the construction trades industry with them. While 73% of men in the region said their family discussed this occupation with them, this was the case for only 16% of women.
The biggest factors holding women from The East Midlands back from pursuing a career in a role traditionally associated with the opposite sex were concerns about: not being taken seriously (53%), facing prejudice in the job role (40%), and finding it intimidating (40%).
However the shortage of women in construction trades could be a trend on the way out, as overall British women aged 25-34 were the most likely to consider a career in the construction trades (35%).
Gary Measures, Managing Director of Able Skills says: “The public want to see more women in the construction trades industry and trust them to deliver a good job. Proving that women’s concerns about not being taken seriously and facing prejudice are unfounded. We really want to encourage more females to consider a career in construction trades and are really pleased to see that the younger generations may break down some of the barriers. In 2017 only 5% of Able Skills trainees were female but we really want this to change.”
Despite construction trades roles being perceived as male orientated, there is a high level of trust towards women working in the sector. Almost a third (31%) of UK adults said they would trust a female construction trades person more to give them the best and most fair price, compared to just 14% who would trust a male more.