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Why aren’t there more female plumbers?

Less than 1% of plumbers in the UK are women1, despite the fact that homeowners want to see more females in the trades industry.

These are the stats:

  • 24% of women say they weren’t advised to take up a trade at school – instead, they were encouraged into stereotypical female roles, such as admin or secretarial work
  • 38% of women in the UK would learn a trade if given a second chance
  • Less than 1% of plumbers in the UK are women
  • Almost a third of women (31%) would prefer to hire a female plumber to carry out work on their home
  • 59% of consumers think more women should take up a trade role

These insightful figures were released by WaterSafe, the UK’s leading plumbing assurance scheme, who polled 2,000 consumers for their ‘Get Girls Plumbing’ campaign last year.

The campaign aims to dispel gender myths and encourage more women into the plumbing industry.

A career in plumbing is financially rewarding, mentally stimulating and offers enough flexibility for men and women with family commitments.

The average worker’s salary in the UK is £26,0002 – plumbers typically earn up to £35,000 per year, or higher if they are self-employed and setting their own rates. And then of course, there is Charlie Mullins, Britain’s millionaire plumber.

Every day presents a new challenge, making it an ideal work environment for practical problem solvers keen to make life better for their clients, and as plumbing is not your typical 9-5 job, it’s possible to work flexibly.

These are all major factors for job satisfaction, regardless of gender, yet women aren’t applying for plumbing roles – in fact, here at WPJ Heating, we haven’t had a female plumber apply for a job for two years!

Britain is currently facing a skills crisis – more female plumbers would help.

Many plumbing firms are turning down work because they don’t have enough qualified engineers to complete the job.

Initiatives such as the ‘Get Girls Plumbing’ campaign are important because they have the potential to inspire more talent to enter the industry, and as the above stats show, almost one in four females are not receiving this encouragement at school.

Plumbing apprenticeships could be the key to getting more women into the industry, although more will need to be done to introduce the idea earlier on in their education, as it may be too late to convince a female that the plumbing industry isn’t a man’s domain by the time she has reached the age of 16.

Consumers want to see more female plumbers.

Nearly a third of female customers are more comfortable with granting a female plumber access to their home and almost two thirds of consumers believe that more women should take up a trade.

Women-only plumbing firms are tapping into this market by exclusively hiring female plumbers and marketing that fact as their unique selling point. Whilst being a significant movement for female empowerment within the industry, this approach does have problems of its own, as gender equality is not being achieved if men are alienated from the workplace.

The plumbing industry has always been about providing professional health and amenities solutions for complete customer satisfaction; if a person is passionate about the trade and works hard to gain the correct qualifications and experience, they should be welcomed into the industry, regardless of their gender.

We are one of South West London’s most highly acclaimed plumbing companies with 5-star ratings on Checkatrade, My Builder and Google. We’re always keen to hear from talented plumbers and would love to have more women on board – if you are interested in building your career with us, send your CV to info@wpjheating.co.uk today.


1 WaterSafe, 2014. National call for more females into the plumbing industry, as research reveals young girls are let down at school. [Online] Available at: https://www.watersafe.org.uk/news/latest_news/get_girls_plumbing_campaign_launched/.
2 Wikipedia, 2015. Income in the United Kingdom. [Online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_in_the_United_Kingdom.
[Accessed 17th June 2015].

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