Women in Trades: Tackling the Skilled Labour Shortages in Canada 

Women in Trades: Tackling the Skilled Labour Shortages in Canada. The struggle to find skilled trades workers and the subsequent labour shortages in the construction industry have been a worrisome headline for over a decade now. Between 2014 and 2020, over 200 000 skilled trades workers were expected to retire. This number climbed heavily after the onset of a global pandemic, placing even more pressure on the understaffed workforce. However, as COVID-19 restrictions and mandates begin to dissipate, the construction industry is in a position to make waves. Building teams with experienced and qualified workers to handle the influx in jobs will be essential. Fortunately, there is a group of people with natural talent and ability that should be sought out as the solution to the skilled labour shortages in Canada.

This group is our current (and future) tradesWOMEN in Canada.

Women are an integral part of the trades industry in both our past and present. They helped close the labour gap that plagued the industry during WW2, and today, women continue to place their mark on the modern construction industry. More women than ever before are taking an interest and pursuing degrees and employment in science, technology, engineering and math (often referred to as STEM courses). This gives further opportunity for the number of female construction workers in the industry to rise. Realistically, an influx in women entering the field could be the long-term solution to the labour shortage that we need. But how do you attract and retain women into a stereotypically male dominated workforce? Here are a few starting points: 


Start Them Young

More education beginning at younger ages is needed for girls to see the full scope of employment available outside of the stereotypical “female” career paths. STEM courses, degrees, and employment provide rewarding opportunities for men and women alike. Engaging them early and learning about the various streams available is a great way for girls to imagine their life in steel toes early, allowing them to work towards their goals as tradeswomen right out of high school.

Involving your business in any Career Day type activities is recommended for construction companies to reach girls at a younger age, and share the knowledge that could have them interested in many of the career paths that are available to men and women working in trades. 

Promote Women in the Businesses

Opening your doors to more skilled tradeswomen or women owned construction and contracting companies can keep female workers driven and engaged with more clients, and other trades workers. This not only allows more networking opportunities for these women, but also opens you up to building positive relationships and connections with the female skilled trades workers in your area. Women in Trades is a critical step in tackling the Skilled Labour Shortages in Canada

Focus on Employee Retention

Retaining employees is essential to leading a successful team and company. Running a business that works just as hard to retain their existing team as they do to replace unfilled positions shows the ongoing dedication and positive workplace culture that the boots on the ground are looking for. Some key ways to increase employee retention and attract more workers include:

* Ongoing Training Opportunities
* Funding for Higher Education to Promote Career Advancement
* Job and Health Benefits
* Incentive Programs
* Mentoring

Caring for your people, making meaningful connections, and investing in their future and development can produce loyalty and excitement among the men and women on your team. 

Building Leaders

Building your female workers as leaders in the workplace can help them be even more successful in their employment, and provide them with more opportunities for growth in the industry. Creating leader-development programs allow employees to feel more confident on the job, navigate change positively, execute daily tasks more effectively, and improve job performance.

Women in the construction industry isn’t a new concept, but it should be one that we work actively to incorporate into our businesses. While this relies a lot on early education, it is also important to create a positive space for women in this male dominated field by promoting inclusion and investing in our future female leaders in trades. 



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