Awareness of gender imbalance in the workplace seems more important than ever, but more than half of Britons still perceive that men and women are not being given the same opportunities to succeed in trade roles, especially within the drainage sector, according to new research from Lanes Group plc.
In a national survey of 669 adults, the UK’s largest privately-owned drainage and wastewater utility specialist found that 58% of people would say that men and women are not given the same opportunities to succeed in trade roles.
There’s a longstanding view that men are more ‘handy’ than women, but this may be down to more than just a stereotype. Out of the women surveyed, 66% stated that they believe men and women are not offered equal opportunities to succeed in trade roles; conversely, 60% of men believe that women are given equal chances to succeed.
Furthermore, the survey found that 82% of men and 81% of women would be surprised if their drainage engineer was a woman. This indicates that many people are adopting a preconceived view that men are better equipped to deal with this kind of work.
These findings come despite previous industry research from Direct Line showing that the number of women working in the trade industry rose by 120% between 2009 and 2019, Meanwhile, official ONS data shows that 72% of women between the ages of 16 and 64 are now in employment, compared to just 53% back in 1971.
Lanes’ research indicates that despite this progress, many women still do not feel that they are being offered the same opportunities as their male counterparts in certain sectors.
Elsewhere, 70% of the people surveyed believe that their workplace is diverse, with a further 81% of people believing that it is their employer’s responsibility to deliver this. These stats demonstrate that people understand the importance of workplace diversity, and are looking to companies and employers to take action to ensure that it happens.
Debi Bell, Head of HR Services of Lanes Group, said: “This national survey has provided us with a fascinating insight into the views of the UK.
“We can see that, despite there being some awareness regarding the opportunities that men and women have in trades roles, we still have a long way to go in improving the public’s view of women in the drainage sector particularly.
“The industry has a responsibility to ensure that women are properly supported, from reaching out to more women in their recruitment efforts, to offering support measures like flexible hours, childcare support or mentorship schemes.
“Here at Lanes Group, we are always actively recruiting women and encouraging them to realise their potential in a sector they may not have previously thought was possible for them. No matter what role they are seeking at Lanes, they will be valued as an equal member of the team and be offered the same opportunities as everyone else to build their skills and take on leadership roles.
“If you are looking for your next career move, Lanes Group can help you – no matter your gender or background”