Women in the Skilled Trades Part 1

Breaking The Glass Ceiling

Women in the Skilled Trades Part 1


By Thomas McKenzie Watt
Monster Contributing Writer

Hey ladies, ever thought of a job in the construction industry? If not, you might want to reconsider. If you're a woman with or without a post secondary degree there has never been a better time to be in the skilled trades. 
 And why not?
While women have made huge gains in other fields, the skilled trades have remained for the most part a predominantly male bastion, one of the few remaining. 
But stigmas are falling and more and more women are turning “blue”. It's simple economics:
The reality of today’s job market makes it very difficult for people without a degree to make more than low end managerial wages. However a skilled trade apprentice can begin to earn about $40,000 dollars a year, without a university degree, and depending on which path they take their career into, they can end up making up to six figures. That's no small change, especially for a single income family often with the woman being the sole breadwinner. Adding to that, an expected job growth in the skilled trades of over one million new positions within the next decade and it just makes sense for women to start thinking of a trade. 
            Riding this trend wave, there has been a noticeable push by the government to promote the skilled trades for women and a number of governmental agencies and interest groups have been established to give women a helping hand for their start in the trades. Women Building Futures is one such organization which states among their chief objectives, a desire to attract more women into the construction trades and to provide trades training that meets the needs of women and the industry.  
There is an abundance of information to help women get started; a quick internet search will yield plenty of information pertaining to ones particular city and province.
            The barriers for women in the blue collar sector might not be as high as one might think, it’s a field where expertise matters, not gender, and although women account for only 10% of the current job market, women in the trades report a high level of job satisfaction and increased confidence.
            So the obvious question is can women hack it in the construction biz? Can a man hack pregnancy? Women are tough and smart. In fact foremen who have worked with women in the blue collar industry, have across the board praised their female employees: They work harder, have less ego, and are in general less rough on the equipment than their male counterparts and are responsible and safe workers.
So the obvious answer is yes, yes, yes. As a blue collar worker myself I would love to see more women in my field and I personally think the residential sector is a great non threatening place to start. 
            Stay tuned, in the next instalment on women in trades we're going to get an inside view from two women already trained and working in the skilled trades to get a better understanding of the challenges and exciting opportunities awaiting women in the field of the skilled trades.

For some cool jobs in the field, click ahead on