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Empowering Women In Trade

Aussie Female Electricians Breaking Barriers

27/03/2023 News & Events  
Empowering Women In Trade
In Australia, the trade industry is a male-dominated field, with women making up only 3% of the trade workforce. However, there has been a push to empower women to enter the trades and for companies to hire more women. This push is not just about increasing gender diversity; it is also about tapping into a pool of skilled workers that can benefit the trade industry.

Benefits of Hiring Women in Trades

There are several benefits to hiring women in trades, including:
  1. Increasing diversity: Hiring women increases gender diversity, which brings a range of different perspectives and ideas to the workplace.
  2. Filling skills gaps: The trade industry is facing a skills shortage, and hiring more women can help fill this gap.
  3. Improved problem-solving skills: There is a difference in the way women approach problems and using a diverse approach to find solutions is beneficial in the workplace.
  4. Improved company image: Companies that actively promote gender diversity is often seen as more progressive and socially responsible, which can improve their reputation.
  5. Increased profitability: Studies have shown that companies with higher levels of gender diversity tend to be more profitable than those with lower levels of diversity.
  6. Improved safety: Women are often more safety-conscious than men, and this mindset can lead to safer workplaces.
Despite all these benefits women still find it hard to break down the barriers and the stereotypes to get into the industry. However, regardless of these challenges, many women are persevering and making a name for themselves as skilled and successful electricians.

One of the most important benefits of having more women in the industry is that it encourages more young women to consider careers in the trades.

Holly Voller, 2nd Year Apprentice

Persistence Pays Off
Holly Voller, 2nd Year Apprentice

Back in 2019, Holly began work with Mekolec while she waited to commence her pre-apprenticeship. There was a long wait and Holly believed gaining product knowledge with Mekolec would be advantageous and give her a competitive start. Her time at Mekolec began with packing deliveries and working Saturdays.

Holly completed her pre-apprenticeship in early 2020 but then when the first of many lockdowns began she had to remain in her corporate role. In 2021 Mekolec offered Holly a full-time position, which allowed Holly to quit her corporate role and solely work with Mekolec who were aware of Holly’s career interests in the electrical trade and were highly supportive.

“Mekolec felt like extended family whilst working there, I genuinely loved being there.”

In January 2022, Radius Electrical hired Holly as a Commercial electrician. Holly is now in her 2nd year and flourishing. Her projects have involved warehouses, offices and large retail.

Holly is hopeful her journey will inspire other aspiring female electricians to take the leap and make their mark in the electrical trade.

As Holly highlighted, “Mostly I am the only female on site, so I would love to see more ladies do a trade.“

Another organisation that is working hard to change the perception of women in trades in the industry, is Empowering Women in Trade (EWIT) founded by Hacia Atherton.

The EWIT Group, alongside its collaborative community, is jump-starting the Australian economy by increasing female representation in skilled trades. The group consists of a registered charity and a social enterprise established to inspire Australian women and non-binary people to pick up the tools and start a career in skilled trades.

EWIT’s aim is to inspire females to see a career within skilled trades as a viable pathway whilst changing the perception of women in trade-based workplaces. They envision a trade-based workforce where women can follow their passion for skilled trades and thrive in a safe and supportive environment.

"The pathways options are endless which is what I think is great about being a tradie. There is a variety of sparky licenses you can get and you can work in manufacturing, construction, mining, telecommunications, maintenance and service just to name a few." - Hacia Atherton, Founder, Empowering Women in Trade (EWIT)

EWIT offer programs that empower women towards trade career pathways through education and support each trade-based industry in providing opportunities through healthy work environments. They attract women across the entire trade pursuits whilst transforming industries to enable career pathways and healthy working environments to ensure the retention of females within the workforce.

On the pathway options available for prospective female trades, Hacia says “The pathways options are endless which is what I think is great about being a tradie. There is a variety of sparky licenses you can get and you can work in manufacturing, construction, mining, telecommunications, maintenance and service just to name a few. After our programs, if electrical has sparked something inside our participants I recommend that they look into a preapprenticeship to give them a solid, basic understanding before they apply for an apprenticeship.”

Benefits of Entering Trades for Women

There are also many benefits for women who enter the trade industry, including:
  1. Job security: Trades jobs are generally in high demand, meaning there is greater job security in the trade industry.
  2. Job satisfaction: Trades jobs offer a high level of job satisfaction as they often involve hands-on work and the ability to see the tangible results of your work.
  3. Flexibility: Many trades jobs offer flexible working arrangements, such as part-time or casual work, which can be ideal for women with caring responsibilities.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women make up only 3% of the trade workforce. However, there has been some progress in recent years. Between 2012 and 2018, the number of women in trades increased by 28%,which is encouraging. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender parity in the trade industry.

Empowering women to enter the trade industry and encouraging companies to hire more women in trades is a win-win situation. Women bring a range of different perspectives and ideas to the workplace, and their presence can improve problem-solving skills, safety, and company image. For women, the trade industry offers many benefits, including job security, job satisfaction, and flexibility. It is time for the trade industry to recognise the value that women can bring and to make a concerted effort to encourage more women to enter the trades, especially in this time of skills shortage.

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