16 Oct 2019

Women trades apprentices 'earn $145k more than uni counterparts'

3:48 pm on 16 October 2019

New research shows the trades are in desperate need of more tradeswomen on the job.

tradeswoman on site using pliers

Photo: 123rf.com

A collection of trades sector bodies commissioned the research, and the findings shed more light on why women still only make up between one and 10 percent of our trades. Only 17 percent of male employers employ women tradies.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation advocate for women Erica Cumming said the research would help create changes to benefit everyone.

She told Morning Report the trades were already facing a staffing shortage and women made up the other half of the work pool that wasn't being looked at.

"Research shows us that some employers were advertising by word of mouth and women aren't getting to hear about those opportunities. The other part is that women just don't know that they could work in those areas - [including] the range of trades."

She said fewer employers were now resistant to employing women as tradies.

As for sexism on the job, she said a lot of women have said they "don't take anything".

The research by a partnership of vocational training organisations was launched at the Industry Training Federation VET Research Forum in Wellington yesterday.

"Trades can be as financially rewarding as getting a university degree, giving women the opportunity to earn as they learn and offer a fantastic work-life balance.

"Female school leavers who enter apprenticeships earn $145,000 more than their university counterparts by the age of 30," Ms Cumming said at the forum.

"There are many specialisations in the trades and they don't all involve being on the tools all of the time. If women were more aware of these opportunities, they could see rich career opportunities they might like to pursue."

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) chief executive Warwick Quinn said businesses needed to look beyond the usual 'go-to' groups when recruiting to meet demand.

"Overlooking women as a solution to the skills shortage means 50 percent of the potential labour force is being ignored. Women offer a new way of thinking, they're good problem solvers, and help bring diversity to a male-dominated industry."

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