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28th January 2021


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Today's tradesman is well qualified and happy in his (or her) work

Research carried out by AXA Business Insurance, one of the largest insurers of the UK's tradesmen, reveals that a formal education to degree level as well as professional qualifications are common place among today's tradesmen while the proportion of females working in trades looks to be growing.
The poll, carried out among hundreds of the UK's tradesmen showed that:

* over a third (37%) of those polled had been university educated
* more than eight in 10 (83%) had a formal professional qualification in their trade
* over 70% had taken an apprenticeship. In turn, nearly half have themselves offered opportunities to others by providing a formal apprenticeship within their business.

Meanwhile, although women represented only one in 10 of those interviewed, two thirds of these were under the age of 35 suggesting that a profession in the trades is becoming more attractive to females starting out in their careers. Across both male and female tradespeople, 43% made a 'career choice' to enter the profession they are in and over half have set up their own business. Some 28% went into the family business and nearly half had worked in another industry before settling on their trade.

When it comes to putting in the hours, on average the UK's tradesmen are working 41 hours a week, take two and three quarter weeks holiday a year and the vast majority (89%) will work weekends some of the time and one in five (22%) always work weekends. Despite this, when asked to rate their happiness in their job on a scale of 1 - 10, the average came out at eight - suggesting a nation of happy builders, plumbers and electricians.

Last year, AXA Business Insurance carried out research that showed a website was more important to consumers than a phone number when looking up a tradesman, which is good news for the 47% of tradesmen in the new research who do have a website. And social media is becoming part of working life for many professional tradesmen with over 20% using Facebook and Twitter for business purposes and over 30% using LinkedIn.

When it comes to some of the old cliches about tradesmen:

* a quarter of those polled do read the Sun. But the same number read The Times
* less than half (41%) would opt for a cup of tea while on the job - coffee and water being popular second and third choices. Surprisingly perhaps, 4% would drink herbal or green tea!
* over two thirds of tradesmen will take cash payments from time to time.

Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance says: "It's really important to us as an insurer of tens of thousands of the UK's tradesmen to understand who they are. There are too many stereo-typical images and it is important to understand that actually today's tradesmen is often well-educated, extremely professional about his work and savvy about using modern technology to help his business grow."


4th April 2014

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