Five reasons skilled trades are a great self-employment option for women

Starting up

21 March 2017

Have you been thinking about launching yourself as white-van woman or joining the crew on one of Britain’s many building sites?

If so, this could be the perfect time to become a self-employed skilled tradeswoman.

The work is out there

The government has pledged to build one million new homes by 2020. That’s a lot of building and someone has to do the hard work – why not you? The CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) predicts that 44,000 new jobs will be created in the construction industry each year for the next five years.

There’s a skills shortage

There may be a lot of homes to build – but there aren’t enough qualified people to build them. In recent years college leavers have been reluctant to join a recession-hit industry, and more people in the industry are retiring than there are young people taking up apprenticeships. There’s also concern that any cap on EU workers will impact on skilled labour, adding to the skills shortage.

Salaries are competitive

The Office for National Statistics’ provisional results for 2016 show that the skilled trades enjoy higher wages than other sectors. The average salary for someone working full-time in a trade is around £500 per week. In female-dominated sectors, such as care, service and sales industries, the average is £350, with administrative work a little higher at £425 per week.

On-the-job training

If you don't already have experience in a trade, the thought of giving up your current income while you retrain is a daunting one. However, many roles in construction involve on-the-job training. Have a chat with your local college to find out what vocational training positions are available, or get in touch with the CITB.

There is demand

We saw this happen a few years ago with the rise of female taxi drivers: some women, particularly those who live alone, prefer to engage a female tradesperson. According to the website MyHammer, 56% of women would rather “Handy Mandy” turned up at their door. With some very simple self promotion, you’d have a ready-made market, eager to take on a female tradesperson.