Q & A with Mike and Sherry Holmes
Industry Insight Mike and Sherry Holmes discuss women working in a male-dominated trade industry.
Q: What do you think would be important to communicate to women about the job market in Alberta?
A: There’s a great opportunity here. If you’re thinking ahead, getting into the trades could really pay off. It might be hard work but it’s not boring. And it pays well. The average salary is above the national average. Plus most household “fixers” are women anyway. That means there’s an interest there. And there’s an interest to do it right.
"By 2020 Canada will have a shortage of a million tradespeople. Baby boomers are retiring and they’re not being replaced."
Q: What does the future look like for women in trades?
A: Things are only getting better. The trades offer huge potential and opportunity. By 2020 Canada will have a shortage of a million tradespeople. Baby boomers are retiring and they’re not being replaced. There’s a gap that needs to be filled and women can fill it. We need more skilled tradespeople. And when the need is high but supply is low that’s a good position to be in. It’s guaranteed employment and a good wage. If you love the work it’s a no brainer.
Q: What do you think would be important to communicate to women looking to enter a male dominated industry?
A: The most important thing I find women should know, when entering this industry, is that we can do anything men can do. It’s hard work, but in the end, proving yourself in a male-dominated industry is a pretty great feeling. Never give up. It takes time to earn everyone’s respect. Just keep working and you’ll make yourself proud!
Q: How do women perform in male dominated industries?
A: I’ve worked with and met quite a few women in this industry. Some aren’t always in it for the right reasons, but others inspire me further. It’s a great feeling to meet other women who feel the same way about working hard. In my opinion, women who aspire to work in the trades need to really commit themselves to it. Learn as much as you can! Try to keep the emotions at home, and really just focus on doing your best. If you want to work with the men, you’ve got to prove you can fit in, and do just as good of a job.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I’ve never been one to sugarcoat anything. I’ll be the first to say how difficult my job can be. But, it’s worth it. I love the feeling of being able to complete a job myself. I can do work on my own house. And I can even teach other people a few things. My job has really changed the way I look at myself.
I’m proud of what I do. It’s great to be able to help other people. I’m still learning. I want to soak up every bit of information I can from everyone I work with, so that I can continue to grow as a person. I’ve never liked anyone telling me that I can’t do something. I can, and I will. This job has taught me that. I love working in the trades!