Almost three-quarters (70 per cent) of Brits have never had a female tradesperson in their homes, according to a survey commissioned by Baxi.
Despite this figure, 94 per cent of homeowners said they would completely trust a qualified female tradesperson, and just under a quarter (24 per cent) of women polled said they would feel safer using a female tradesperson.
The research also showed 65 per cent of homeowners would like to have the choice of either a male or female tradesperson.
The study of more than 1,000 homeowners was undertaken to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day, and highlights the lack of female representation in engineering roles, after The Engineering UK 2018 report revealed that just 12 per cent of all engineers in the UK are women.
Karen Boswell OBE, managing director of Baxi UK & Ireland, says: “Our survey confirms that homeowners are happy to see female plumbers and gas engineers, yet there remains a critical lack of tradeswomen. With the heating and hot water industry facing its biggest change since the introduction of the gas boiler, this would be an excellent time to improve female representation. We will certainly be doing our bit to employ more women in engineering and management.”
Baxi currently has an internal committee working on a wide-ranging plan to improve diversity. Measures already introduced include featuring more images of female engineers in recruitment advertising to make them more attractive to women.
Baxi’s research also found that 70 per cent of homeowners would actively encourage a female relative to consider a career in engineering.
Jess Queenan, a Baxi customer support engineer, has been a qualified gas engineer for six years. She says: “I have a career that I’m proud of and a wage that I’m proud of as well. It would be great to see more women getting into it…hopefully we’ll be breaking through some boundaries over the next few years and making [women engineers] the norm.”
Jess’s view is reinforced by independent gas engineer Rachel Griffiths, who says: “There’s not a single obstacle I’ve come across as a woman plumber that I needed help with [or] couldn’t do because of my gender.”