As we celebrate International Women’s Day this month, there’s no better time to talk about women in the skilled trades—and what recruiters can do to support them.
Known to be rewarding and lucrative, skilled work is a great career option for everyone. However, although the number of female skilled workers in Canada is increasing year over year, women still make up the minority of workers in skilled jobs. The most recent data from Statistics Canada shows that just 7.4 percent of skilled workers in Canada are women. While that number is up from 3.9 percent in 2018, there is still a long way to go before women begin to make up a significant portion of the skilled workforce.
Why is it important to support women in the skilled trades?
Ensuring that female workers get the support they need to thrive in the skilled trades not only secures opportunities for women, but it benefits companies, too.
Equitable companies are stronger companies
Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) continues to be a leading topic in business circles, topping board agendas year after year. Companies in every industry are recognizing that organizations with diverse workforces are more innovative and perform better compared to the baseline.
Empowering more women to join traditionally male-dominated industries is an pragmatic way for companies to meet their EDI goals, which is proven to lead to better business outcomes down the line.
Address labour shortages
Beyond the question of equity, companies need more skilled workers—period. From manufacturing and construction to mining and oil and gas, a labour shortage is continuing to impact industries that employ skilled workers. This trend is partially due to demographic changes as the Boomer generation retires, but it’s also the result of a range of other factors, including the continuing impacts of the pandemic.
Because women are an underutilized pipeline for new workers, recruiting female candidates is a potent strategy for connecting businesses with the skilled labour they need.
How can you support women in the skilled trades as a recruiter?
There’s clearly a great business case for growing the volume of women working in the skilled trades. But what’s your role as a recruiter?
Many believe that the lack of female skilled workers in Canada is, in part, due to work environments being unwelcoming to women. As a professional in staffing or HR, here are some of the top ways you can help women feel more welcome and empower them to flourish in the trades.
Seek out women candidates
It’s not always easy to find women candidates for skilled jobs, so you may need to put in a little extra legwork. To seek them out, reach out to your top candidates (women or men) and ask if they know any women tradespeople who are great at what they do. Once introduced, you can share available opportunities with the workers as they come up.
Getting introductions to female workers will not only help women find roles, but it connects you with top candidates to fill open roles. That pipeline will come in handy the next time you need to hire quickly.
Get help from advocacy organizations
Once your network is exhausted, explore other resources that could help your recruitment team find qualified female candidates. There are more out there than you may realize.
Advocacy organizations and professional groups exist in nearly every industry to support female workers. Do a little research on groups in the industries in which you work, and reach out. We bet they’ll be thrilled to hear from a recruiter who wants to offer job opportunities to their members.
Connect women with training and education
Many women in the skilled trades may not be aware of the educational opportunities available to help them get ahead. Help female candidates grow their careers by pointing out training programs that could equip them with new skills or certifications.
You can also make a difference by sharing information on scholarships or government grants that could help them fund their training.
Even when everyone on your team has the best intentions, unconscious bias in recruitment can prevent women from getting placed in skilled jobs. One of the best ways to reduce hiring bias? Use automated processes designed to select candidates solely based on their qualifications and work history.
The bottom line
Supporting women in the skilled trades is not only the right thing to do, but it’s a smart move for recruiters and companies. Empowering women to work in construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, and other industries that rely on skilled labour opens up a new pipeline of candidates who are ready to work. That’s a win for you, as a recruiter, and it’s a win for companies, too.
Even if your staffing agency or HR team already has processes in place to recruit more women, there are always opportunities to do more. What will you do this year to support women in the trades?
Designed with the unique needs of Human Resource departments and staffing agencies in mind, Labourly helps you streamline your company’s workflows and reduce hiring bias—saving you time in the process. Book a demo call with us to learn more about how we can make recruitment smoother for your team.