Gender pay gap: £700k lifetime difference

In response to the UK’s urgent need for one million new tradespeople in the coming decade, Magnet Trade has shed light on the pressing issue of the gender pay gap within the self-employed trade industry.

Magnet Trade's analysis reveals a startling £700K lifetime difference in earnings between self-employed male and female tradespeople in the UK. As demand for trades grows, closing the gender pay gap is imperative

As the demand for women in these professions rises, Magnet Trade’s analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data and insights from The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current state of gender pay disparity in self-employed trade professions across the UK.

Magnet Trade’s data found that, with women earning 43% less than men in self-employed jobs, estimates show that, for trade jobs, men charge £7 more an hour on average than women. In terms of the hourly rate, on average, this is £23 for self-employed men compared to £16 for women.

Across all industry trades, men earn an average of £700K more across a working lifetime compared to women. 

£14k difference in pay for women

When looking at just one year, men earn £14K more compared to women in the self-employed trade industry. Therefore, self-employed tradeswomen must work five extra months per year to match a man’s salary across trade roles. 

Top ten self-employed trades with the largest gender pay gaps

RankingTradeMale hourly ratesFemale hourly ratesHourly gender pay gap
5General construction£23.65£16.54£7.11
7Painter and decorator£23.31£16.30£7.01
8Steel and timber frame erection£22.19£15.52£6.67
9Surfacing contractors£21.85£15.28£6.57
10Specialist trades£21.60£15.10£6.49

Electricians have the biggest hourly gender pay gap at £7.97

Magnet Trade’s report reveals self-employed electricians have the biggest hourly gender pay gap, with women only charging £18.54 compared to £26.51 for men on average. This means that male electricians earn, on average, £16,583 more than women in a year. 

An average electrician’s weekly salary, according to Hudson Contract, is £1,055, which is just over £50,000 a year. Due to increased demand for jobs, electricians can charge more, meaning their wage is above the UK average.

Plumbers have the second-highest gender pay gap

Plumbers rank as the trade with the second-largest gender pay gap within the industry. Plumbers have one of the highest average trade salaries, earning on average £53,824 a year. However, the pay gap between genders is also very high, with females earning £18.10 compared to males £25.88 an hour. This equates to a loss of over £16,182 a year for women in the plumbing trade compared to their male counterparts.

Joiners have the third most significant gender page gap, equating to a loss of £16,099 a year for female joiners compared to men in the same trade. When looking at the hourly rate for joiners, men earn on average £25.73, whereas women in the same position only earn £17.99 per hour.