Business of Men

For the non-traditional woman: 5 Reasons to get a skilled trade job


You’ve heard the statistic over and over again: those who have a college degree earn more money on average than those who graduate with just a high school diploma. This statistic does not address the cost and debt accumulated with earning a college degree, however. It also avoids the benefits of vocational schooling. College education is important and valuable as it can teach many of us about the inequalities in our systems, but it is not the only path to a successful and fulfilling career.

Have you ever considered a Skilled Trade Job? “Skilled Trade” refers to a position and person who hones their occupational skills through vocational higher education as compared to a traditional college education. Positions include:






-Medical and Dental Hygienists



Not only do trade jobs offer more hands-on chances, they also offer a variety of different positions, flexibility, and opportunities for excellent pay and great benefits. If you like the idea of working with your hands as well as your mind, and enjoy the possibility of paving the way for future women in a male dominated field, then consider the below 5 reasons you should work a skilled trade job.

Top 5 reasons to consider a skilled trade job:

1. Become a part of history:

There is a proud history of women in skilled trade jobs in America. Rosie the Riveter, the most iconic face of the American workforce in the early 1940s, was the star of the government campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for the hands-on-jobs that men in wartimes left behind. Rosie represented the woman who was left behind. During WWII, the United States relied on the support of women in trade field jobs to keep the economy stable.

Historically, men have been at the forefront in the workplace; managers, CEOs, and COOs, more often than not, have been men. Finding a company that isn’t male dominated has become nearly impossible. Now more than ever it is important for women to stand out in the workplace. So instead of accepting a life in a corporate management male dominated company, consider a place for yourself a part of history with a career in a skilled trade position.

2. Skilled trades jobs offer financial stability:

Seventy years ago the average income for females in skilled trade jobs was at least 50 percent less than men. But that is not the case today! Aside from it being a more affordable education option, the median annual wage for skilled trade jobs like HVAC technicians, electricians, and painters is significantly higher than other women dominated employment positions like childcare and bookkeeping.

As a woman, you will not be sacrificing financial stability by choosing a skilled trade job. The average starting annual income for women in trade jobs is anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000, with the potential for bonuses, benefits, and a possible unionized position.

3. High job security:

Job security is one of the most important things to focus on when thinking about starting or shifting your career. The skilled trade industry is headed back to its “Rosie the Riveter” mindset, where women are needed now more than ever. Talent is equally distributed among women and men in the field of trade jobs, however, opportunity has not always been as equal until now.

Right now six out of every 10 positions in skilled labor alone are unfilled as a result of a gap in skillsets. It is projected that if this trend continues, more than 6 million jobs in the United States could be unfulfilled by 2020. Due to this, more companies are focusing their time on recruiting women, which is seen as an untapped market that makes up almost 50 percent of the work population. This shortage of trade workers comes at a time in our country where most skilled blue collar laborers are reaching retirement age with no one to replace them, except maybe you?

4. Vocational training is more affordable:

There is a systemic shift in education that is happening in our country. More people are choosing to avoid the college pipeline to save time and money. On average a college graduate will spend $40,000 on tuition, housing, books, and general college expenses. By choosing a vocational trade school instead of college, debt is cut by over half, the average cost of technical school is $10,000. This means a smaller and more manageable accrual of debt when training for a trade job than if you took the traditional college route.

Like traditional college options, there are a multitude of resources available for women entering the trade job industry. Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs are available, as well as scholarships for those thinking about entering vocational school.

5. Mutually beneficial:

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Today, the vast majority of employers do not want a specific gender dominated workplace. A study done in May 2016 by Morgan Stanley found that companies that were more gender-diverse outperformed those who were not.

Our country is quickly and steadily outgrowing the notion that trade jobs are “men’s jobs.” With a larger need for employees, the field is more accepting and tailoring to women. History has shown us that the more women are in a field, the more accepting the field becomes of women. How can you go wrong with a position that allows you the same income as a man, in the same field, with equal appreciation?

Traditions are changing in our country, and the power and importance of women is being recognized in the workplace. There is no reason that men should be the only ones allowed to get their hands dirty. If any of these reasons have you wondering if a career shift is in your future, you go girl!

About Avery Taylor Phillips

Avery Taylor Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

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