Research reveals the main barriers to women entering the plumbing industry

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF

Outdated stereotypes and poor career advice are seen as the main barriers for women considering a career in the plumbing and heating industry, according to a survey from the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF).

The poll of 674 people, conducted between 23-27 February, found that 39% of respondents believed sexist and outdated stereotypes were the main barrier to women entering the UK plumbing industry, with 21% stating poor career advice. It also found that 28% of people thought there was no barrier to entering the profession, with 12% citing a lack of respect for women.

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, pictured, said: “It is unbelievable that in 2023 outdated and sexist stereotypes continue to be made about what women can and cannot do, often reinforced by misguided career advice that the trades are men-only professions.

“Thankfully, SNIPEF is finding a small but growing number of women who are challenging these misconceptions and entering the plumbing industry, finding it an attractive and lucrative career option.

“We need to encourage greater diversity into our industry, helping us address the current skills shortage and meet the demand from 30% of customers who have stated their preference for a women plumber.”

SNIPEF also revealed ahead of International Women’s Day, 8 March, Scottish Apprenticeship Week, 6-10 March, and World Plumbing Day, 11 March, that 2% of its apprentices are now women, an increase of 50% since 2020. Although still small, trends indicate a growing demand from women to train as plumbing professionals.

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