The National Skills Needs List (2019) lists 65 trades that are experiencing national skills shortages …

The national trade skills shortage in Australia is primarily being caused by the imbedded negative culture against women which actively discourages women from pursuing trade careers, such as building and construction. 

Simple basics such as a need for female toilets on building sites can be overlooked and disregarded as a necessary change by some building sites. 

Fiona McDonald, Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia today called for all political parties, government agencies and industry bodies to forge new positive approaches towards the engagement of women in trades to pro-actively facilitate and support women’s pathway into the male dominated trades sector.

”Government should be setting an engagement target of 20,000 year 9 to 12 students, 100 employer partners, 200 trade trained career teachers to support women in the industry by committing to new jobs to create a 15% increase in trade careers for women.  

“The National Skills Needs List (2019) lists 65 trades that are experiencing national skills shortages. Of those, 62 can be classed as male-dominated trades; only 3 could be classed as female-dominated.”

Ms McDonald said there is an urgency for the Federal and State Governments to foster linkages between stakeholders, educators, partners, and participants to enable pathways for women’s participation in the trades.

‘Women bring a positive impact to the trade workforce creating a culture and behavioural change, improved attention to detail, planning and organisation, improved communication, dedication, and maturity.’ * ¹


In the context of current skills shortages in Australia, under-representation of women in key industries is not only bad for gender equality, it undermines Australia’s economy and growth opportunities,” Ms McDonald said.


Boosting women’s workforce participation is essential to raising living standards and securing Australia’s future prosperity. It has the potential to add up to $25 billion to the Australian economy.’ * ²

Tradeswomen Australia research (and comprehensive experience) demonstrates three barriers critical to women entering a male-dominated trade workforce:

  1. Lack of information and engagement about trades with career advisors and secondary school girls
  2. Poor workplace culture and social misconception make trades unattractive as a career path
  3. No structural support systems for women working in male-dominated trade industries.

Media Enquiries:

Ron Smith, Media Communications, Tradeswomen Australia

Mobile: 0417 329 201