Are there industries that you skip over when looking for a job? That could be a big mistake in today's shifting work environment: employers in some fields that have traditionally focused on hiring men are becoming more welcoming of women with the right skills. Nowhere is this more apparent than skilled trades like welding, HVAC, electrical work, and plumbing. Read on to find out why the skilled trades are a great fit for many women.
The skilled trade industry is currently stuck between opportunity and market barriers, as many employers recently reported difficulty finding skilled workers to fill positions and even anticipated having to raise wages to attract the manpower they need.
Electricians are a great example of this trend: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that through 2024 employment is expected to grow by 14 percent, an extremely high rate compared to other occupations due in large part to more construction. However, many employers say they find it challenging to find qualified applicants.
Nature abhors a vacuum, as they say, and women with the right training and skills will likely find excellent career opportunities in the trades. Not only is demand high for skilled workers, but also, as TWS illustrates, women can often find higher salaries in the trades compared to jobs in childcare and accounting.Gender Diversity Benefits Businesses
It may not surprise you that women are still unrepresented in trades like electrical work, plumbing, and others that have been traditionally dominated by male workers. Barriers like harassment and hostility have contributed to dismal gender diversity in industries like construction, where women only account for 2.6 percent of workers.
Studies of other industries support the importance of gender diversity in the workplace. Research from Ernst & Young LLP, for example, shows that return on equity reliably increases for utility companies that practice gender diversity by hiring more women and decreases for companies that primarily employ men.
Note that this research focused primarily on higher-level positions, but as more women leaders emerge in traditionally male-dominated industries, there is a greater chance that women in other positions and fields could be inspired to take on unconventional roles and persevere in the face of obstacles like discrimination.Women Prefer Flexible Work Arrangements
Recent research from LinkedIn highlights another reason the skilled trades may be a good fit for women: women prefer flexible work arrangements that allow them to set their own hours, make time for other life activities, and generally work a job that isn't tied down to a 9-to-5 schedule.
The skilled trade industries can be ideal for developing flexible schedules. Welders, for example, often work by contract and can pick and choose where and when to work. Entrepreneurial opportunities for tradeswomen are also great, as construction and HVAC work, for example, have some of the highest self-employment rates in major industries, 17.5 percent and 15 percent respectively.
For more information on the opportunities in these fields for women, review the infographic below.