Now, it looks like the future may very well be female. Women plumbers are strolling in to fix your toilets, patch up that leaky sink, and save your basement from flooding. Let’s explore what the future of this trade looks like, and why it is so wonderful that more women are entering this field.
Women plumbers 2022 statistics
Though most people would agree that no one really wants to call a plumber, the truth is that there are times when we all need one. Plumbers offer an essential service, and like any industry, plumbing has the ability to improve and grow with more diverse experts in the field. With 68% of plumbers being white and 91% of plumbers being male, it is clear that there is room for more diversity in this field, and this truth is being embraced by new people in the industry every day.
As of 2021, the estimated number of women plumbers in the plumbing industry, which has an estimated 276,986 total plumbers in the United States alone, was a shockingly low 5% of all working plumbers. However, the number of women in this industry is growing every single day. With more women entering male-dominated industries, the spread of women in areas where they were once virtually unseen is growing, and plumbing is no exception.
You can find an overview of plumbing statistics here.
Plumbing salaries compared: Men vs. women
Plumbing is a crucial industry that allows us to enjoy the benefits of modern living, and in some cases, it can even save lives. A field with this much importance should come with a top-tier salary, but that isn’t always the case. New plumbers start around $30,000. With time, that salary does grow substantially, with the average plumber making around $54,000, and some plumbers making just under $80,000.
Though these salaries and the capacity for growth within the industry are notable, it is important to understand that it isn’t always distributed evenly. It is a well-known truth that many industries have a fairly significant wage gap between men and women. While many would expect to see a wider than average gap in a male-dominated industry, that isn’t the case with plumbing—but that doesn’t make this industry an exception. On average, women plumbers make about 91% of what their male counterparts earn, which is actually better than the average, which rests at 84% of what men earned. This is another selling point for women looking to enter the industry.
Why should there be more women plumbers?
Gender roles have been applied to countless jobs and industries, often starting at birth for most of us. Many women grow up with notions of what a typically “feminine” job is, and plumbing is not on the list, but that outlook is changing with younger generations. Women are exploring new industries, like plumbing, and finding their place in them—and this is great for companies. One study found that companies that had women in the C-suite actually had 34% greater returns to their shareholders. When women enter an industry, it is good for companies and women.
Industries thrive on diversity
As our world evolves, we are gaining the understanding that diversity is very important when it comes to helping industries thrive. This belief is so prominent that, when asked, 67% of job seekers said that workplace diversity is one of the most important factors when considering places of employment. Not having a diverse work environment can actually make companies lose top talent.
When we include more people from different backgrounds in key industries, we change industries for the better. These unique perspectives allow us to see new opportunities for change and can help us to come up with better ways to carry out important processes, like Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, a talented computer scientist and high-ranking Navy veteran, who changed the world when she created the first data-processing compiler for English speakers and paved the way for machine-independent programming languages.
It’s a steady career path
Sometimes the best reason to follow a career path is simply that it is a stable and beneficial opportunity. Plumbing is a wonderful industry with great potential for growth, and it can meet key needs like set hours, clear benefits, and vacation time. This practical career path is stable and gives you the opportunity to learn something new every time you go to work. Pair this with the stable schedule, short commute, and the ability to support your neighbors, and it is easy to see why women are interested in this career path.
More women want women plumbers
Women plumbers can actually support women simply by joining the industry in a couple of key ways. The first is that, when more women join an industry, other women become more comfortable doing the same. Every woman that enters plumbing encourages more women to enter this field.
The second reason comes down to client safety. For various reasons, some women simply aren’t comfortable with male plumbers. Though most plumbers are perfectly nice people unless you’re a particularly spirited clog in a drain, the fact remains that not every woman is comfortable being alone in her home with a man that she doesn’t know. Having access to industry professionals that can provide a little more comfort can be a huge selling point, particularly for young women, single mothers, and victims of domestic violence.
How to encourage and attract women to be plumbers
Changing an industry that is predominately built on one specific kind of person can seem like a very big task, but industries around the world are making this change. Companies realize the value that women can bring and are looking for more diverse talent. The leading group Deloitte, which plays a prominent role in several technical industries, has highlighted their high volume of female leaders in manufacturing, showing support for women entering this field where only 30% of employees are female. Let’s consider ways to encourage, support, and attract talented women in this industry.
- Make job postings clear and avoid gender-specific language like referring to your audience as guys, brothers, or men
- Actively seek out women plumbers with targeted campaigns on social media
- Offer training, scholarships, and internships aimed at women in the industry
- Create an environment that doesn’t have the “boys’ club” mentality—include women in team conversations and avoid rude jokes that might embarrass them
- Treat women plumbers with respect, consideration, and a clear understanding of their talents
- Offer and advertise clear Human Resources support for sexual and professional harassment
- Work with schools and professional organizations that help young girls and women to explore available career paths
What do men plumbers think about women plumbers?
The internet is incredible because it allows so many people to connect and share their stories, but it can be unsettling for women who are looking to enter industries that predominantly have male employees. It isn’t a secret that countless women have experienced harassment in the workplace, and this is something that companies are actively pushing back against, but it does leave some women wondering what they’re really walking into.
Male plumbers are always happy to work with someone who brings the right skills to the table, and women plumbers have plenty to offer. Whether it is being able to fit into smaller spaces or being able to provide more comfort for female clients, there are plenty of reasons that plumbers love having women on their team. If they’re doing a good job, do you really care what a person’s background is?
Women plumbers’ courses and certifications
Breaking into a new industry requires women to receive the appropriate education that comes with working in this trade. There are so many ways to enter plumbing as a career path, and the approach that you take will likely be dependent upon the state that you live in since every state has different requirements.
Some states require plumbers to apply for an apprentice certification and training program before working in the field at all, while others require potential plumbers to take several exams with information that can be learned on the job and through books. To find out the path to becoming a plumber in your state, you can review the requirements here.
Every single state opportunity is accessible to women, and the majority of learning will be spent alongside a master plumber in your area.
What the future holds for women in plumbing
Speculating on the future of an industry is always something that must be done with care and consideration. Realistically, there is no guaranteed way to know what the future will hold in this industry, but it can be beneficial to look at the overall numbers. In the time between 2016 and 2018, industries consisting of two-thirds men or more saw their female population increase by 5%, demonstrating that the growth has been, and likely will, continue to go up one day at a time.
With the growing female interest in entering technical industries and complex trades, expansion into male-dominated fields is growing. As the number continues to grow, we can step away from the gender stereotypes that plumbing has been associated with for so long. Women are bringing their talents to the plumbing industry, and if other industries are anything to go by, we will see a greater balance in this industry with time.
Women are changing every global industry, and this change is bringing benefits for the industry itself, as well as the people involved. More women plumbers are joining the field, with many opening their very own businesses to create a space where all plumbers can thrive regardless of background.
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