Skilled Trades

How Women Are Overcoming Stereotypes in the Skilled Trades

Skilled TradesJune 01, 2022

Women are in demand in the skilled trades and this type of career may suit you if you prefer an active job over a desk job. In recent years, a growing shortage in the trades such as HVAC, plumbing, welding, electrical, and mechanics means employers are actively recruiting female employees. 

As more women enter the field, stereotypes about gender roles and jobs held by women are changing. You may not know this, but historically, the US supported women in the trades during World War II when the men went to war, with 37% of the US workforce made up of women. They worked as electricians, manufacturers, HVAC-R technicians, mechanics, and welders. The modern mindset is changing again to welcome women back into the professions. 

By 2030, it is predicted that the world will face a global talent shortage of more than 85 million people. Here in the US, 81% of construction firms couldn’t find enough skilled employees to meet the demand in 2021, according to the Construction Association. Demand is only continuing to boom. There’s never been a better time to explore skilled trades. What can you do to counter existing stereotypes?

Embrace History

Despite the booming talent need, women are still underrepresented across skilled trades, making up less than 10% of the workforce. There are challenges, it’s true. Some of the barriers women have faced in the past include lack of information and assumptions they weren’t capable of or interested in the work. But not only have women handled trade jobs in the past, they handled them well. 

Be a Role Model 

If the trades appeal to you, choosing this career path models the choice to other women. One stereotype women face is they’re not strong enough to do heavy labor—for example, on a construction site. But many traditionally female jobs require heavy lifting too, including nursing, childcare, and food service. The skilled trades don’t all involve brawny muscle, of course. Careers encompass jobs such as electrician, mechanic, and plumber which don’t generally demand a lot of brute strength. Bonus, the trades can offer opportunities for advancement into management positions.   

Explore Professional Organizations 

If you’re still not sure, there are professional organizations geared just for women in the trades. They offer professional support and solidarity to women in these fields. Here are a few. 

For women (and men), the skilled trades can offer a fulfilling career. If you’re considering a role in this field, Fortis can help you with your next step. Visit our website for more information. Or call 1-855-436-7847 to speak with an admissions advisor today.