A new study by GoCompare Van has found a steep increase in the number of women taking on trade jobs in the UK in recent years.

The study which analysed the biggest trade jobs women are stepping into identified a rise in the number of women learning the trade younger. Results found there has been a 366% increase in young females taking on apprenticeships in construction and engineering in the past five years. 

For course starters in 2019/20, there were 10,170 females in construction and a further 45,010 enrolling in engineering.

However, there's still a huge difference in pay across males and females in the construction and trade industry.

Plumbing and heating was the second most popular trade for women, with 28.38% of women involved with fixing heating and fitting boilers, as well as installing bathroom and kitchen fixtures.  

The study also found that London is the tradeswoman capital of the UK, with 3,930 registered female apprentices across its boroughs, learning construction, planning, manufacturing and more. In Southwark, 31% of apprentices in construction are females, while in Wandsworth (28.28%), Redbridge (16.67%) and Havering (14.55%), high numbers are also raising the national trend. 

Although the number of women picking up the tools might be rising, their pay still falls behind their male counterparts. As with many types of employment, men take home significantly more pay, earning an average of £8,206 per year more than women for the same roles. But at least in trades the gap is starting to close, with men earning £7,115 more, according to the study.

A spokesperson from GoCompare commented: “This report shows that, in the past five years, there’s been a 366% increase in women enrolling in trade-focused apprenticeships which represents a real step change, particularly with more women taking the plunge into construction and engineering roles and apprenticeships.

“The report also shows that females in London are leading the way, as the capital has the highest number of females taking on trade apprenticeships. Our data reveals that in Southwark in particular, one in three trade apprentices are female.

“GoCompare has also seen a 6% year on year increase in women quoting for van insurance which coincides with this rise – including females aged between 17-24. It seems lockdown impacted this as in summer last year, there was a large jump from April to July when quotes for van insurance doubled.”

To read the full report, click here.