British tradeswomen look forward to a prosperous 2017

Starting up

21 March 2017

Women might be underrepresented in the skilled trades, but there's good news for those who have picked up tools.

The average take-home pay for a tradeswoman is £1,660 – impressive when you compare it to the £1,030 taken home by self-employed women working the same hours in the retail and service sectors.

With two-thirds of tradeswomen saying they expect their business to grow this year (compared to 42% average across other sectors), we're looking at why 2017 could be a great year for women in trade.

The skills shortage is likely to worsen

There's a skills shortage in the construction industry, with 82% of firms saying they struggle to find the right workers. Since the Brexit vote, the issue has become more pronounced.

Many EU citizens currently working in the UK are tradespeople, and according to The Times house-builders have already noticed a drop in the number of electricians, plumbers and joiners available since the vote. The current demand for 300,000 new homes per year means that women breaking into the trades are likely to find businesses eager to take them on.

If you were previously worried about competitiveness or barriers to entry, now is the time to get training.

Take-home pay is likely to rise

A survey in 2014 showed that, thanks to high demand, wages in the construction sector have gone up. At the time Hays reported that annual pay across the industry had risen by 3.6%. The current lack of supply means that hourly rates could continue to rise.

The government industrial strategy offers opportunities

Theresa May's government recently launched a green paper proposing a new industrial strategy, transforming Britain from a service-based economy into one that's strong on practical skills and industry. The plan includes creating technical colleges and increasing business investment, as well as focusing on infrastructure. Someone will need to build the homes, buildings and roads proposed and that's where tradespeople come into their own.