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Almost one third (30%) of UK homeowners say they would rather hire a female tradesperson, as opposed to a male one, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). In a survey of 2000 people, the research showed that women in particular favoured hiring females, with 35% saying they would feel more positive about having a female builder or tradesperson to complete a task in their home. Nearly two-thirds of the general public are ‘gender blind’ when choosing their builder or tradesperson and wouldn’t care whether they were a man or a woman.
A range of reasons were given for preferring female tradespeople, such as believing that females might be more respectful of their home (51%) and wishing to support more women working in non-traditional job roles (46%). Other reasons given include:
42% might feel more at ease with a female tradesperson
37% think female tradespeople might be more trustworthy
35% think female tradespeople might be friendlier
30% think women often have better attention to detail than men
20% prefer the company of women
18% relate better to other women
16% would be a novelty and a welcome change to hire a female builder
Despite feeling more positive about hiring a female tradesperson, 30% fewer people would encourage their daughter to pursue a career in construction than their sons.
Commenting on the research, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, says: “There’s a clear appetite among consumers for more women to enter the building industry. There are numerous reasons for this; however there’s a serious gap in the market here as currently only 2% of tradespeople are women.
“The construction industry is in the midst of a skills shortage and until we appeal to women – who obviously make up 50% of the population – we’re unlikely to dig ourselves out of this skills hole. Despite feeling more positive about hiring a female tradesperson, 30% fewer people would encourage their daughter to pursue a career in construction than their sons. In 2018, this attitude is outdated and denies thousands of women a potentially rewarding career.
“Today [8 March] is International Women’s Day and we’re calling on all parents, teachers and careers advisers to talk to young women about a career in construction. The construction sector can appeal to anyone who takes pleasure in the built environment and wants to avoid being trapped behind a desk all day. This can and should apply to both men and women equally.”