Women in trades research

The strong demand for trade-based employment in New Zealand is unarguable.  Regrettably, so is the low participation rate of women in trades, especially in construction and engineering.

This research programme was delivered over three years through three inter-related focus areas working with:

  1. in-trade women
  2. trade employers
  3. data to establish benchmarks and measure change

Successful women in trades

The first project gives insights from interviews with 35 women tradies who were successful in completing their qualifications and working in the construction industry. They were able to maintain motivation despite the negative comments and challenges they met with on-site. The women described five main barriers to entering and working in the trades: 

  1. lack of knowledge about the opportunities within the trades
  2. lack of work experience
  3. finding employers willing to employ women
  4. male-dominated culture of the trades
  5. lack of support for women in the trades.

There is an element of truth to the following responses on initial reading; these barriers are generally common to every apprentice, not just women, and there is nothing new in this report, but it is good to have the evidence. Please consider the findings in light of the following:

  • women often experience all five barriers, many at the same time, and are impacted significantly by the cumulative effect 
  • consider the quotes, barriers, benefits, influencers, personas and SWOT analysis with a view to what you can change, affect and improve
  • nothing we did can affect the participation and success of women in trades last year, but the choices we make now can affect the participation and success of women in trades this year, next year and into the future. 

Research reportsRachel Corbett of Martin Goulden Builders Ltd

Part 1: Project overview

Part 2: How women have succeeded in trades where they are traditionally under-represented

Part 3: How employers have influenced the participation and success of women in trades 

Part 4: Personas of women and employers in trades

More Research

The future Māori workforce

  • 24 February 2020

Building on the work completed in stage one, BERL explored the data deeper in order to better understand the situation of the current Māori workforce today, especially in high risk sectors.

Pacific economy has rising importance

  • 24 February 2020

This research employed the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (2017) to identify and delineate the economic footprint of the Pacific community within New Zealand’s economy.

See all Research