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Snapshot of women in trades
Introduction

To get a better idea of the characteristics of women already in the trade workforce, we compare these characteristics with men in the same workforce. Our analysis uses census data as this gives the most accurate like-for-like comparison between male and female tradespeople. We generally find differences are small, but can be common across sectors.

Age distribution

Across sectors, women in the trades tend to be slightly older than men, with relatively fewer workers in their twenties and thirties and more in their forties. The sectors that buck this trend are Painting and Decorating, Mechanical Engineering and Electrotechnology, where the female workforce is slightly younger. For Painting and Decorating this may reflect the increased proportion of women among recently trained workers.

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Methodology

The data is from the 2013 census. When using census data we can use both industry and occupation data to classify people as workers in particular sectors. Our approach is to use a combination of core industries and occupations, and compatible occupations.

If someone works in a core industry and a compatible occupation, they are classified as working in the sector. Occupations are more specific in identifying people as part of trade workforce so anyone with a core occupation is classified as working in the sector.

Use the drop-down menu on the bottom-right to choose a sector. The tables below will show the lists of core and compatible industries and occupations used to define the sector workforces from the census data.

Ethnicity

The chart below compares the ethnicities of men and women in the trades. In a number of sectors, particularly Electrotechnology, Engineering and Manufacturing, women in the trades are more ethnically diverse than men. The distribution of ethnicities varies between different sectors. For example, Forestry has a particularly high proportion of Māori at over 30%

Download data

Methodology

The data is from the 2013 census. When using census data we can use both industry and occupation data to classify people as workers in particular sectors. Our approach is to use a combination of core industries and occupations, and compatible occupations.

If someone works in a core industry and a compatible occupation, they are classified as working in the sector. Occupations are more specific in identifying people as part of trade workforce so anyone with a core occupation is classified as working in the sector.

Use the drop-down menu on the bottom-right to choose a sector. The tables below will show the lists of core and compatible industries and occupations used to define the sector workforces from the census data.

Self-employment

Women in the trades tend to be self-employed at slightly lower rates than men, though this varies from sector to sector.

Download data

Methodology

The data is from the 2013 census. When using census data we can use both industry and occupation data to classify people as workers in particular sectors. Our approach is to use a combination of core industries and occupations, and compatible occupations.

If someone works in a core industry and a compatible occupation, they are classified as working in the sector. Occupations are more specific in identifying people as part of trade workforce so anyone with a core occupation is classified as working in the sector.

Use the drop-down menu on the bottom-right to choose a sector. The tables below will show the lists of core and compatible industries and occupations used to define the sector workforces from the census data.

Conclusion

Women in trades tend to be slightly older and more ethnically diverse than their male counterparts. The relative lack of younger women in the trades workforce may be due to the difficulty in attracting young women to the trades.

We also find that women are self-employed at rates slightly lower than men. We should keep these facts in mind as we investigate the experiences of women in trades.

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Women in trades over time

Track the number and proportion of women in trade sectors over time

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Defining a workforce

Learn about the methodology we use to identify and define a workforce

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Regional distribution of trade workers - Census

Explore how tradespeople are distributed among the regions