Addressing the persistent barriers to women’s employment in the manual trades

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only

Abstract

Despite more than 30 years of activism and government policy encouraging women to break down the barriers and take up employment in the manual trades, women currently make up 1-3% of all workers in the manual trades in Australia. This figure has remained stubbornly consistent throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. The manual trade occupations include: electro-technology, automotive, bricklaying, carpentry, painting/decorating, metal fabrication and plumbing. The economic advantages of diversity and inclusive employment policies are well established and are a key strategy in addressing regional skills shortages in Australia. However, finding solutions to the problem of gender segregation in the manual trades goes beyond government and industry needing to address the skills shortage, to providing viable employment alternatives to women.
Drawing on a recent project in regional NSW and Victoria that explored the lived experiences of tradeswomen, apprentices, the industry they work in and the organisations that support them, this paper investigates recruitment and retention, women’s contribution to workplace productivity and how these factors promote longevity and career satisfaction.
The paper identifies a range of strategies to address the persistent barriers to women’s recruitment and retention including changing social and cultural perceptions of gender and gender roles, valuing women’s skills and contribution to the trades; changing the way we deliver education and training and who delivers it; integrating women for the good of industry; increasing support and developing targeted resources from government and industry and changing organisational working practices to improve the industry culture for all stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020
Event'Doing things differently? IR practice and research beyond 2020': 2020 AIRAANZ Conference - Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 11 Feb 202014 Feb 2020
Conference number: 34th
https://www.airaanz.org/2019-conference.html

Conference

Conference'Doing things differently? IR practice and research beyond 2020'
CountryNew Zealand
CityQueenstown
Period11/02/2014/02/20
Internet address

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  • Cite this

    Bamberry, L., Bridges, D., Wulff, E., Jenkins, S., & Krivokapic-Skoko, B. (2020). Addressing the persistent barriers to women’s employment in the manual trades. Paper presented at 'Doing things differently? IR practice and research beyond 2020', Queenstown, New Zealand.