Apprenticeships Discrimination Against Women Threat to Economy

……if there was an extra 6% of women in the workforce, we could add up to $25 billion, or approximately 1%, to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.² 

Lack of representation of women apprentices/trainees in the non-traditional trades, especially in the core trades of construction, automotive and electrical, which has remained less than 2% for over twenty-five years, has been described as a threat to the national economy. 

Fiona Lawrie, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia said the National Skills Needs List (2019) lists 65 trades that are experiencing ‘national skills shortages’.

Of those, 62 can be classed as male-dominated trades; only 3 could be classed as female-dominated.

Ms Lawrie said given more than 50% of the Australian population is represented by women, it is time to utilise this national skills base which would lift national employment and productivity.

Tradeswomen Australia is already working with a range of major companies and government departments to encourage a greater awareness of the contribution women can make to the trades within Australia, and the economy.

Barriers to increasing the number of women employed in the trades have been identified as:

      •  Lack of information and engagement about trade with career advisors and secondary school girls
      • Poor workplace culture and social misconception make trades unattractive as a career path
      • No structure support systems for women working in male-dominated trade industries.

Ms Lawrie said in 2012, the Grattan Institute found that if there was an extra 6% of women in the workforce, we could add up to $25 billion, or approximately 1%, to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. * ²


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