Women in Plumbing and Construction

Posted July 11, 2013 by

plumbing-electrical-careerThe world of construction trades is full of urban myths that really need debunking. Plumbers don’t, in the main earn more than £100k, although they can earn a respectable living, the electrician’s world is swamped by cheap labour from Eastern Europe, there is a shortfall of skilled plumbers estimated to be about 30,000 for plumbers alone. Finally, women cannot become electricians or plumbers is simply not true. With these urban myths fully debunked it is worth considering the issue of women in construction trades such as plumbing and electrical work in more details.

Women in Plumbing and Electrical Trades

In the UK the construction industry is worth more than £1.5 billion and regularly employs more than ¼ million people. The Equal Opportunities Commission recently found that while 49 percent of the workforce are women only 9 of plumbers and electricians percent are women indicating that there is not a representative number of women in the trade.  A recent survey by Hill McGlynn spoke to 3,000 companies in the construction industry and female employees. They found that 79% had made no specific efforts to recruit women and only 55% made any form of arrangements to support women with families who wanted to join the industry. This position is gradually changing and there are now women construction project managers who have started at the bottom and progressed to senior positions.

The Benefits

Successful plumbers and electricians can earn a good income, especially if they are prepared to work unusual hours and on weekends. This provides an opportunity for women who may want to return to work after starting a family. Careers where there are opportunities to work unusual hours can make organising a career easier, especially if there is a partner to share parenting responsibilities with.

Undoubtedly, the current shortage of skilled trades people is a benefit, any time spent training will be of significant benefit as in the years to come more and more skilled plumbers and electricians retire.  If you combine that with an ever growing demand for more homes, more offices and more factories you can see how the demand will only ever continue.

For many people becoming a skilled plumber or electrician is a first step towards starting their own business. Running a business as a female plumber can have an unexpected advantage. Forget the discrimination against women plumbers, female plumbers are in demand by a significant proportion of the population.  Women and older customers are often more comfortable inviting a women plumber into their home. Some religious groups are also more comfortable inviting a women tradesperson into their home.

How Do You Get into The Plumbing and or Electrical Industry

In 2010 the Young Plumber of the Year was a female. Aimee Patterson won the BBC Young Plumber of the Year award and this is a good indication at the time has never been better for women to join training schemes for plumbers and electricians.

Apprenticeships are a very good way of gaining a qualification as a plumber or an electrician if you are leaving school.  An apprenticeship has two parts, classroom based learning and on the job experience. This means that you will get plenty of opportunity to practice and sharpen the skills you are provided when you are in college.

Your college course will lead to a qualification that is recognized industry wide. The NVQ course is known for the quality of the theory teaching as well as the practical experience that you will gain.  Assessment is carried out, in on-the-job situations so you will receive a qualification that will place you in good stead for a successful career.

An NVQ can be gained at several levels and a woman apprentice electrician or plumber should follow an apprenticeship that leads to a NVQ level 3 course.  You should expect your training to take two or probably three years and your employer will pay you a basic minimum wage while you are training. In many cases, plumbers and electricians who successfully complete their courses are offered jobs with the firms who they were apprenticed too.


For many women, the issue is never about how competent they are as plumbers or electricians it is merely about how confident they are about entering what are male dominated industries. It is worth considering how successful Emma Clancy has been in the trades industry. She is the Chief Executive Officer of NICEIC which is the body that governs registration for the electrical contracting industry which is a clear indication that these professions once thought to be for men only are becoming more open for women.

Author bio:

Mihai Taraipan is the editor of CSBS College – an independent education provider, offering a wide range of training courses in Plumbing, Electrical, Renewable Energy in London Uk.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers, Industry News and Information | Tagged Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,