Traditional Trades – A Route to Freedom?
For many career-minded women, flexibility in the hours and weeks of employment and a large degree of freedom are important considerations. And for many women, one of the best ways towards achieving these goals is via self-employment. But the big problems with choosing this route are the lack of an absolutely secure income, the sporadic nature of contacts – and the requirement for genuine self-discipline and motivation.
Perhaps it’s for these reasons that more women seem to be opting for the more traditional trades – trades we would normally associate with men. So to explain; we’re talking here about trades such as plumber, electrician, mechanic, plasterer, builder, painter and decorator, welder etc. Some of these trades, and perhaps most notably the first three on the list – offer reasonably secure employment whatever the economy may throw at us (though it’s still wise to be providential in the good times of course). What’s more – they’re proving increasingly popular with women.
HiPages, for example, notes that in Australia the number of women in these trades has been growing. True; men still account for four out of every five tradespeople down-under. But 2015 alone saw an amazing 490% increase in women tradespeople signing up on the site. And these kind of stats seem likely to be reflected in other developed economies.
In short, things are changing in these trades with more and more women getting professionally qualified. And whilst not all tradespeople are self-employed, many are as this choice can offer a traditional route to self-employment. And, perhaps more to the point, it’s one that is reasonably secure.
OK, such careers aren’t for everyone. But for those women who enjoying working hard and deciding exactly when and where they want to work, trades offer an interesting option. And once you are professionally qualified, it’s something you can fall back on which, in turn, gives tradespeople the freedom to do more interesting things in life like travelling or taking a year out etc., whilst being reasonably safe in the knowledge that they can start again when they want to.
Obviously, all such advice comes with a big word of warning; trades are competitive and there are no guarantees etc. But such trades are always in demand and for people who work well, who are qualified to do so – and who work for a fair price, there is usually sufficient work.
Also, many people commissioning such work would simply prefer to employ a woman for myriad reasons. Women are generally better communicators than their male counterparts – and are often preferred by other women who need help from tradespeople but don’t like to feel condescended to.
CAPTION: Could these be the tools of your trade? Overall, though, perhaps the most appealing things about careers in the traditional trades through self-employment from a woman’s point of view are the flexibility such careers potentially allow in creating the right work/life balance – along with the feeling of “actuality” in completing real physical tasks; a feeling that is lacking in so many other career choices today.