Job security, job availability, flexibility, career growth – and great pay…isn’t that what we all look for in a job? That’s what a career in the trades affords you. But it is an industry that is woefully uneven when it comes to gender.
Most of the people reaping the benefits from trades work are men. This stands to reason as many positions in the trades – like electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians – have typically been occupied by men. Even though there has been a growing shortage of skilled trades workers, women still make up only *10% of those jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 2.2% of electricians are women.
But the times, they are a-changing. Many businesses have expanded their marketing and recruiting efforts to include women. In the 1940s, the U.S. government used propaganda (think: “Rosie the Riveter”) to draw women into trades jobs typically filled by men.
The Tulsa Welding School expects the demand for electricians to grow by 14% in the U.S., and women entering the trades can fill those much-needed openings for skilled workers. There is also a lot of room for advancement in these industries. Plus, starting out as an apprentice and an electrician can lead to promotions to managerial positions.
“There is so much opportunity in the trades!” said Rachel Caffrey, Director of Systems and Administration for Mister Sparky of Northwest Arkansas. “You can look around the country and see industries that are shrinking and companies closing up. That’s just not the case in the trades. People will always need electricity, plumbing, heating and cooling, etc.”
Trade work is also perfect for a mid-career move. Fifty-three percent of skilled trade workers in the U.S. are 45 years or older, reports the Tulsa Welding School. It’s also more cost-effective. You can become a skilled tradeswoman in half the time at half the cost (compared to getting a bachelor’s degree).
“My generation was so conditioned to go to a traditional four-year college,” continued Rachel. “There’s a labor gap in the trades that we women are more than capable to fill!”
There may be a lack of women electricians, but the presence of women is pronounced throughout the electrical service industry. At Mister Sparky, women occupy roles as owners, general managers, operations managers, electricians, technicians, customer service representatives, accountants, and systems directors, to name a few.
Women may be more inclined to get into the action, but it’s not without its challenges. Trades work is still very much considered “men’s work.” But with the right team and positive support, a woman can thrive in any position.
“Our owner put a banner up in the office that hit home for me, in more ways than he could ever know. It said – throw me to the wolves and I’ll return leading the pack – which is what I did,” said Donna Quiroz, General Manager of Mister Sparky of Jacksonville, FL. “As a woman in the trades, I had to prove myself, like everyone else. I was fortunate to have a great boss, the best I’ve ever worked with, and an amazing support team. Without the team, we wouldn’t be where we are. I wouldn’t be where I am.”
With the proper training and support, women are the key to filling the gap in qualified trade professionals. Women occupy every type of position at Mister Sparky. Some of the best technicians and electricians are women, and we’re looking for more! If you are interested in a career in the trades, visit our careers page at https://mister-sparky-careers.careerplug.com/jobs/.
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