Long gone are the days when professions were either all-male or all-female. Even though the skilled trades include traditionally male-dominated professions, that doesn’t mean women should shy away from technical training.
Are you a woman? Do you have a serious interest in becoming an electrician? Between 2016 and 2026, the electrical field will add another projected 59,600 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Both men and women expect to fill the growing number of electrical trade jobs.
Understanding the benefits and the challenges of being a female and an electrician is one of the first steps on the road to a successful electrician’s career. If you are not sure what to expect or whether you should go into this field at all, look at what you need to know about women in the electrical field.
Get an Education
Whether you recently graduated from high school, are switching careers, or are going back to work after taking time off to have children, you will need to invest time into a quality electrical training program. While electrical profession jobs typically do not require a four-year or college degree, you will need to complete in-school classes and hands-on training.
The training that you get provides you with a solid knowledge base and the practical experience you will need to get an entry-level job. It also gives you the expertise to feel comfortable in working with electrical wiring and components in several different settings, including residential and commercial properties.
Get a Job
While getting an electrician’s education is universal and without prejudice, the same cannot always be said about getting a job. In some ways, being a female electrician may be to your advantage during the job hunt. But in other ways, being a female electrician may make scoring the ideal job more of a challenge. Do not read the word challenge as impossible. Plenty of female electricians have found jobs that they enjoy. Some companies may seek to diversify their workforce by hiring skilled female tradespeople. Traditionally, women in the skilled trades are severely underrepresented. An employer who wants to change this may make more of an effort to recruit and hire female electricians.
Get a Fair Chance
Can your gender exclude you from a job? The short answer is that legally no one can use your sex or gender as a reason to not hire you. Equal employment laws forbid employers from discriminating against someone just because they are a woman. This includes discrimination during the hiring process as well as after you are hired. Legally, discriminating against a woman by cutting her pay, limiting her job assignments, passing on her for promotions, or firing her is not allowable.
Even though the law is clearly on the woman worker’s side, some employers may use other reasons to not hire, not promote, or fire a woman. If you feel that you have not been treated as fairly as a man would have, you have recourses. But before going the legal route, you need to make sure that the business owner or employer actually discriminated against you because you’re a woman.
Get a New Role
Not only does becoming an electrician give you a new career, it also can turn you into a role model. The growing number of women entering the skilled trades does not mean that females are soon-to-be even with men (in terms of the number of electricians). Think of yourself as a trailblazer who can influence future generations of women in this professional field.
Are you ready to start your career as an electrician? Contact IEC Greater Cincinnati for more information.