Female Tradies: Making your mark in the building and construction industry


Despite the rise of the female workforce in traditionally male-dominated fields, the building and construction industry persists on lagging behind, making up just a minuscule 3% of workers. That’s all the female carpenters in Australia combined with bricklayers, electricians, and countless more. Modern technology has thrown the physical strength excuse out the window, so why are these numbers of female tradies so low? How do females in trades forge the way ahead, and will their hard work be rewarded long term? Is it worth starting a Certificate IV in Building and Construction to prepare for the future?

Let’s investigate.

A Promising Pathway

While female trade jobs may not yet be keeping up, the construction industry as a whole is booming. Careers in building and construction can be lucrative—a far cry from the introductory apprentice wage that is so often portrayed—and it’s not just the boys who should be enjoying the time in the sun.

It remains one of the three top economic drivers in Australia, and the second biggest employer. Get past this mystery hurdle of representation, and female tradies with their sights set on a long-term career in construction will have excellent opportunities to progress and prosper. And it’s worth remembering that while the 3% figure may be daunting, it is on the rise.

Plus, what these topline statistics don’t tell us, is that women are actually better represented in management roles within the construction industry, compared to the average across all fields. So it seems like those who put in the effort when the odds are stacked against them are making it to the top—it may be worth investigating those building and construction certificates after all.

building and construction industry

In truth, a high demand for workers, combined with promising opportunities for top-performing female tradies, may just spell better job security for women considering a career in construction.

What’s even more promising is that lots of women are choosing to study their Certificate IV in Building and Construction today, meaning that the industry dynamic could be set to shift in just a few years’ time. While an understanding of the current market is always helpful, it may be those coming up through the ranks and opting for building and construction certificates who will help to be the change-makers of tomorrow.

In-Demand Skills

While we’re well past the myth that women are emotional creatures and men physical, there remain differences in the way that men and women approach new challenges, find solutions, and work with others. Without the other half, the industry is currently limited in the assets it can tap into.

In fact, studies have shown that, on average, women are better communicators, more cautious and thorough, and able to organise themselves, including juggling multiple tasks.

Anyone would agree that these three traits are incredibly useful in the deadline-driven, precision-obsessed, and team-centric world of building and construction. Plus, you’ll notice that while they can be refined through hands-on learning and even formal education, like a Certificate IV in Building and Construction, they remain intrinsic traits.

building and construction course

Challenge or Opportunity?

Studies have shown that a more diverse, balanced workforce is a more productive one, meaning that everyone—organisations, government, managers and individuals—have something to gain from an industry-wide shift. In fact, a diverse construction workforce has the potential to increase GDP by 11% and economic growth by $25 billion over the next decade. So while many may see the current imbalance in workforce gender as a negative, through a fresh perspective it can be seen as immense opportunity.

The question to ask is how each entity can work towards this common goal for the good of all involved, rather than blaming governments and culture alone. For larger clients, it might be a matter of implementing tender criteria which specify diversity and equality as standard. For institutions and educators, it’s about making the trades pathway to a Certificate IV in Building and Construction more acceptable and inviting for women, and focusing on decreasing an all-male culture in building and construction certificates.

For the individual female tradie, it may mean becoming an advocate to others, decreasing stigma and eventually disrupting the cycle through mentorship. More and more networking initiatives, buddying systems and even women-only trades groups are being established. New South Wales is even aiming to double its female construction workforce in the near future, meaning more immediate opportunities for women currently studying or thinking about building and construction certificates.

Looking to take the next step in your career in building and construction with a Certificate IV or Diploma? Contact our team at 1300 LEGEND (1300 534 363) or request a callback and we will get back to you with all the information you need!