Women in trades research

Did you know that just 2.6 per cent of tradespeople in New Zealand are women?

Competenz and other ITOs have supported a three-year research project on how to increase the participation and success of women in construction and engineering related trades – areas where they are traditionally under-represented. Jointly commissioned by the Ministry for Women and Ako Aotearoa, the research was published in April 2019.

A female fabricator 

Benefits of employing women tradespeople

The researchers spoke with New Zealand businesses who employ women and found there are many benefits to hiring females, including:

  • Women generally pay greater attention to detail (60 per cent of employers of females agreed with this)
  • Women help to improve the general tone of the workplace (59 per cent of employers agreed)
  • Women are more careful with work equipment (55 per cent agreed)
  • Women are generally better at communicating with both customers and other staff (46 per cent agreed)
  • Women help businesses to better reflect their customer base (41 per cent agreed)


What can employers do to attract more women tradespeople?

The research outcomes also include useful suggestions for employers on how to recruit more women into trades training including:

  • Broaden the base of people you talk to when looking for employees
  • Advertise positions online, open up the pool of people who can work for you
  • Offer flexible working arrangements as they work for everybody. Common options include:
    • part-time hours
    • staggered hours where staff have different start, break and finish times
    • flexi-time where staff have the freedom to work in the way they choose outside a set core of hours determined by the employer
  • Build partnerships with education providers, e.g. Gateway, pre-trade and offer work experience.

You can read more about women in trades in the full research report here.