During the last few decades, women have made significant progress in several industries. Unfortunately, their representation remains less than desirable in some areas, including many trade occupations. This problem is especially evident in construction, as TWS indicates that women currently hold just 8.9 percent of welding jobs. Those who are willing to shake off stereotypes are able to take advantage of excellent economic opportunities, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a job outlook of 14 percent for HVAC technicians and electricians.
Skilled Trade Statistics
Females are underrepresented in nearly all trade-based sectors. According to a United States Department of Labor study on females in nontraditional jobs, women held just 5.2 percent of sheet metal jobs and 4.8 percent of welding jobs in 2014. In contrast, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that women make up 47 percent of the total workforce.
Signs of Progress
Although women are vastly underrepresented in many fields, there are numerous signs of hope. For example, the Department of Labor reports that women made up 20.4 percent of metal and plastic workers in 2014. Additionally, while women made up just 7.4 percent of construction managers in 2014, this marked a significant improvement over the 6.8 percent of female construction managers in 2010.
Women who enter the trades could enjoy exciting economic opportunities: higher pay than traditionally female-dominated fields like childcare and administrative work; plenty of chances for career advancement; and even the possibility of owning their own businesses—construction has the second highest incidence of self-employment of all major industries.
Want to learn more about women in the skilled trades? Check out the infographic below.