Numbers rise for women electricians, plumbers and builders, but still a way to go

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The analysis shows that there were an estimated 33,000 female tradespeople in 2019 – a 120 percent increase on the 15,000 reported in 2009. Over this time the total number of people working in construction, electrical and plumbing has risen by five percent to 743,000, meaning that while women currently account for just 4.4 percent of all tradespeople, this is considerably higher than the 2.1 percent representation a decade ago.

When broken down by industry, the majority of female tradespeople can be found in building, with 24,000 females employed in jobs including bricklayers, roofers and scaffolders, accounting for five percent of the total workforce. There are an estimated 8,000 women working as electricians, accounting for three percent of all tradespeople and 1,000 female plumbers, accounting for two percent of those working in this trade.

While the number of women working in these trades has been steadily rising over the past decade, the figures show that female representation is rising at an increasing rate, with more than half of the 18,000 new female workers in construction since 2009 being registered in the last five years.

Nandita Borkakoti, business manager for tradesperson, Direct Line for Business said: “While jobs in construction have traditionally been dominated by men in the volumes employed, it is encouraging to see that this notion is being increasingly challenged, with around 33,000 women across the UK currently working as builders, electricians or plumbers.

“With around 34,000 more tradespeople in the UK now than a decade ago, we hope that the coming decade sees further inroads being made for women in trade businesses, as the focus shifts away from gender and towards ability and expertise.

“It is important for any new entrants to the industry to have the strongest foundation possible to start work, with an insurance policy that can be tailored so that they only pay for what they need to include a range of covers such as public liability, employers’ liability or for cover for their tools including when left in their work vehicle overnight.”

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