2 Sep 2021

Employers want more women to be in trades roles

From Afternoons, 1:37 pm on 2 September 2021

Currently, women make up only 13 percent of all employees in the New Zealand construction industry.

According to a new survey, employers are keen to hire more women, but they need support to do it.

Women in Trades Collective spokesperson Kelly Bennet has a message for them - let us help you give women a red hot go.

Many women are keen to explore working in the construction industry but don't know where to start, Kelly says.

The TradeCareers website now has online toolkits for women keen to work with tradies and another for employers keen to work with women.

Many of the more than 22,000 Kiwi women who've lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 have skills in tourism, hospitality and retail - industries where there aren't many new job opportunities coming up, Kelly tells Jesse Mulligan.

At the same time, New Zealand's construction and infrastructure industries are crying out for skilled people so encouraging more women to become tradies seems like a good solution.

The Women in Trade Collective is working to support employers in construction with information to set them up well for employing women.

Some are already on the case, making sure their job ads are gender-neutral and ask for 'tradespeople' rather than tradesmen, but tricky questions like 'what if she gets pregnant?' and 'will she be strong enough?' do still come up, Kelly says.

If construction employers have concerns about hiring women, she suggests they reach out to peers who already employ women.

Many have seen a lot of positive changes within their organisations due to having women on staff, Kelly says.

Some female tradies are already at the top of their game, such as the 2020 NZ Apprentice Painter of the Year Chelsea Froese, she says.


Women working in trades, construction.

Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro