Despite decades of expanded opportunities for women in the workforce, as late as 2014, the three most common occupations were the more traditional avenues of secretaries and administrative assistants, grade school and middle school teachers, and registered nurses. While these occupations can be fulfilling in their own right, not all provide the affordable educational pathways or future financial possibilities of some traditionally male-dominated jobs.
Just what are these conventionally male occupations and what do they offer? Many can be found in the skilled trades, such as HVAC technicians, welders, and electricians, and they often offer higher earning potentials in less time. For example, the below infographic from TWS shows that administrative assistants tend to earn $20,020 less a year than electricians. Plus, workers can enter this trade and others often after under a year of training compared to the four years of college many teachers and nurses have to complete. Following are some other reasons career opportunities for women abound in the skilled trades.
Why now? What makes this moment a better time to take advantage of the opportunities skilled trades have to offer? One reason has to do with a trend affecting businesses across America: bringing manufacturing back to the United States. With all of the variables needed to successfully manufacture goods overseas, many organizations are finding that not only can U.S. prices be competitive but also that bringing these jobs back often results in a smoother process, less risk, and higher quality products.
In 2014, $1.9 million in grants was available for Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupation programs. Additionally, the cost incurred from a trade school education compared with that of a college degree is tens of thousands of dollars less. Plus, the demand for HVAC installers and electricians alone is projected to increase 14 percent by 2024. Here, affordability meets opportunity.
Skilled trades careers can be financially accessible and provide fulfilling opportunities for women. For example, 15 percent of HVAC mechanics, 11 percent of electricians, and 7 percent of welders are self-employed, setting their own schedules and enjoying autonomy and flexibility in their work—a great dynamic for anyone raising a family while running a business.
To learn more about the boundless opportunities in the skilled trades for women, check out the infographic below.
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