The BC Government recently completed the Women in Trades labour market project, co-sponsored by the federal and provincial government. The project report identifies barriers preventing women from entering, advancing and staying in a career in the trades and suggests solutions to change it.
Less than three per cent of working women in B.C. have chosen a job in the building trades. The Women in Trades project report recommends providing women with workplace supports, like informal mentorship and networking programs, and enhancing employer human resource practices to make workplaces a more inclusive and accepting environment.
The project report notes that many of the recommended anti-bullying policies and improved health and safety practices would benefit everyone in the trades.
“We know that one of the key barriers to retaining women in trade is the unacceptable culture of bullying and harassment that some are exposed to,” said Minister of Labour Harry Bains. “This culture is unacceptable and the behaviours must be guarded against and must not be tolerated by workers, their colleagues or employers.”
This collaborative project includes feedback and recommendations from employers, tradespeople, unions, the ITA, WorkSafeBC and other stakeholders from around the province.
There are 115,000 job openings expected in the trades in B.C. through to 2025 due to retirement and economic development. High-demand trades occupations include millwrights, heavy duty mechanics and carpenters. Increasing the participation of women in the building trades would help to fill many of these job openings and meet labour market demand.
If current trends continue, a generous 3 per cent (3,450) of those 115,000 well-paying jobs will go to women; the remaining 111,550 will go to men.
This $540,000 project was funded through the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Development Agreement.
The next step will be working with industry to develop pilot projects to address the issues identified in the research report; including anti-bullying and harassment awareness, employer policies around inclusive hiring practices and other supports, which aim to improve workplace culture.
Trades are one of the few remaining well-paying careers with a built-in training component (Canada is renowned for mediocre employee training). According to Neuvoo.ca, the average annual income for a tradesperson is around $57,006, or $29 per hour, which is about 1.7 times the Canadian median wage. Entry level positions start at $40,000 while most experienced workers make up to $80,000.
- Read the final Women in Trades labour market reports
- Construction Industry Training Network Engagement Report – January 2016
- Enhancing the Retention and Advancement of Women in Trades in BC – February 2017 **
- A Women in Trades Program Matrix for BC: Priorities and Implementation Options – March 2017 **
- Services to Support Tradeswomen: A BC Environmental Scan – November 2017 **
- Visit a range of completed labour market projects
- Learn more about sector labour market partnership programs
- View all open labour market project programs
- Explore a range of careers including trades
(** removed from the first link above, so we’ve included them here)
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