From education to employment

Survey Reveals Demand For Gender-Neutral School Career Advice

A new study from the find-a-trades person platform Rated People highlights the need for more inclusive language for the trades industry to help to break down stereotypes, and to make it easier for more people, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexuality to get into the industry and thrive.

Researchers at the trades platform interviewed 3,000 UK residents, tradespeople and 16-18-year-old school leavers, and the research shows 80% of UK residents still use the term ‘tradesmen’ to refer to all people working within trade professions. It also revealed gendered language is still being used in career advice in school – three quarters (73%) of 16-18-year-olds heard the term ‘tradesmen’ as a collective term for all people who work in the trades.  

Why this needs to change

There is still a perception among some people that only men can work in trade professions. When outdated gendered job titles like ‘tradesmen’ are used to describe all people within an industry, it perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes, and this is negatively affecting the next generation. 

Many young people who don’t fit the ‘traditional tradesmen’ stereotype never think of a trade profession as a viable career path, and the career opportunities within the industry seem closed off.

Over 40% (42%) of 16-18-year-olds say they would be more likely to consider a career in the trades industry if more inclusive language was used in career advice, and 66% think the gendered term should be replaced with ‘tradespeople’ so it’s more inclusive.

Rated People is now calling for UK schools to stop career advice from using gendered terms like ‘tradesmen’ as a collective term for everyone in trade professions to promote inclusivity and encourage diversity in the industry.  

There’s also huge support for a more diverse workforce among existing tradespeople within the industry – almost nine in 10 (87%) tradespeople think it would be good for more women to start working in the industry. 

When it comes to current career advice in UK schools though, the research suggests it is falling short. The study discovered 22% of 16-18-year-old girls were even given a trade career as a potential option at school. Whereas, 75% of boys had trade careers communicated to them as viable career choices.

How Rated People is campaigning for change 

By releasing this study, Rated People hopes UK schools will evaluate the quality of career advice and the effect that non-inclusive language is having on young people who are making further education and career choices. 

The find-a-tradesperson platform also hopes by renaming this September’s‘National Tradesmen Day’ as ‘National Tradespeople Day’ it will better reflect ALL the amazing people who work in the industry. 

To boost awareness about the issue further, Rated People is launching a new nationwide TV campaign to further promote the diversity message. The newly launched TV advert shows ‘if you’ve got the skills, we’ve got the jobs’ to highlight the most important thing is how skilled you are, and nothing else. 

To show this, the TV advert intentionally features tradespeople from a first-hand perspective, showing the work they’re doing, and not who they are, or what they look like. Rated People hopes the advert will show no one judges a skilled pair of hands for who they are, they just care they’re doing a good job, the 5-star kind of job.

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People commented:

“One of the biggest ways to break down stereotypes is to use more inclusive language and we hope our campaign for diversity will start to affect the change that the industry needs.  

So much progress has already been made to promote diversity in the UK, but the trades industry needs a boost to make it more inclusive. This is a bold step for us, but it is the right thing to do.  

It’s also important to say that this is no way a slight to all the hardworking and incredible tradesmen within the industry – we salute you and all the amazing work you do. We acknowledge the historical workforce shortage in Britain right now and want more people to get into the industry. We hope that using more inclusive language will help to achieve that. 

For an industry that offers great financial security and job fulfilment, more needs to be done to ensure young people see this as a welcoming environment where they can flourish – where everybody, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexuality, can thrive.”  

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