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The future of women in Trades

by Maria Onzain
Posted: December 17, 2019

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Have you always been attracted to the trades field but felt intimidated by the thought that you would be the only woman? While it is true that men have traditionally dominated trades such as building and construction, this is no longer the case.

If you are a woman considering entering the trade sector, there has never been a better time. A new study conducted by Charles Sturt University has found that "more women in trades could be the solution to the skill shortage". According to lead researcher Dr Donna Bridges, "more women taking up careers as tradies could relieve pressure on the building, construction, maintenance and renovation industries".

In the last decade, Australian governments and associations such as the Queensland Government's Women in Hard Hats and Australian Apprenticeships Pathways, among many others, have undertaken several initiatives. And although the number of women in the trades field is still considerably smaller than the number of men, it is expected to continue growing during the next decade.

This gradual shift towards a more gender equal industry not only benefits women but also businesses, the industry, the community and Australian society more generally. This is because increasing female labour and getting a more even number of men and women working together boosts teamwork, improves work processes, and enhances problem-solving. These internal improvements can also lead to better communication and improved customer relationships.

Top 5 reasons for women to choose trades as a career

  1. Trade industries often present job security as they involve dealing with necessities that people use every day.
  2. Depending on the job, most trades offer good remuneration. In Australia, construction labourers, plumbers and automotive workers' wages are more than enough to support a growing family.
  3. As there is a skills shortage among many trades, there is a high demand for qualitative skills. Women can take advantage of this situation and start a career in the trades field.
  4. There is potential for flexibility. In most trades, work often starts early in the morning and finishes in the early afternoon, allowing more family time in the afternoon and evening.
  5. Working with your hands and building homes, cars or roads can be a very creative and rewarding career.

Exciting work opportunities for women in the trades field

  • Construction technology: There is a huge opportunity for women in construction technology. As the construction industry is taking a shift towards greener building practices and the use of more sustainable materials, those who are trained in these eco-friendly techniques will have access to exceptional job opportunities.
  • Construction Management: The job of a Building and Construction Managers is to supervise and manage contractors and labourers at construction sites. They also meet with architects, designers, and other project managers to make sure the work is done correctly and is completed on time. Women with excellent organisational skills and problem-solving minds will be ideal for this type of job.
  • Electrical Engineer: Electrical engineers are responsible for designing and developing electrical systems. The job requires applying the physics and mathematics of electricity and electronics to different methods to be able to process the information and transmit energy. Women with an interest in electronics and outstanding critical thinking will make great electrical engineers.
  • Industrial Designer :Industrial designers develop concepts and create the final designs for manufactured products. These professionals specialise in one product category, such as automobiles or furniture. Women who are imaginative and persistent can develop their skills and take this creative and satisfying career path.

Next steps to work in Trade... 

Once you have decided that a career in the trades field is ideal for you, the first thing you should do is enrol in a building, construction and trades diploma or certificate. Taking one of these courses, you will acquire all the necessary knowledge to start your career in trades. Once you finish your studies, you will be ready to find an apprenticeship and put your skills into practice.

Today, young women's career aspirations have changed. And what used to be a man's world is now an industry that benefits from men and women working together. So, if you have always wanted to work in construction, it doesn't matter if you are male or female, take now the first step towards your dream career!


Maria Onzain

Maria is a Journalist and Content Marketing Specialist writing for Open Colleges about education, career, wellbeing, and innovation. With a degree in journalism and a master in international marketing, she covers stories on online publications about ed-tech, business, and women.

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