UBC Undergraduate Research

Increasing the number of tradeswomen at UBC Alexandria, Michelle; Farquharson, Caitlin; Gupta, Supriya; Dergousoff, Kate; Goodman, Spencer; Labron, Brittany


The critical issue that the University of British Columbia Building Operations (UBCBO) is faced with is one of social sustainability - increasing the number of female tradespeople within the organization to reach the provincial average of 5%. An internal review of UBC’s current hiring processes did not reveal any systemic issues to the underrepresentation of females in the trades workforce. Research in the form of one-on-one interviews with both female and male tradespeople currently employed at UBCBO provided in-depth information into the ways that these trades people had heard about UBCBO, as well as their reasons for remaining with the employer. Further analysis led to the finding that the low female participation rate came as a result of a lack of awareness about UBCBO as an employer. This recruitment-marketing plan is geared towards increasing the awareness of UBCBO as an employer for certified tradespeople. First, the issue of brand management is tackled - UBCBO needs to realign key advertising materials to strengthen the employer brand of diversity. This realignment is in response to literature review findings that women judge the diversity of a workplace based on inconspicuous aspects of the advertising message. To generate leads and spread information regarding new job postings, UBCBO needs to utilize social media outlets, particularly Twitter. A new Twitter account would link UBCBO to the BC trade certification schools, thus creating interaction between newly certified tradespeople and UBCBO. A physical presence through workshops at trade certification schools would be used to raise a general awareness of UBCBO as an employer of skilled female tradespeople. Once employer brand management and lead generation are underway, UBCBO needs to make sure that potential female tradespeople follow through with applications. The wording of job postings pertaining to skilled tradespeople positions needs to be re-evaluated to become comparable to those of competitors in terms of length, density, and positioning of key statements. As a last note, UBCBO needs to review the policies that are preventing the hire of external apprentices – it is understood that this is a complex issue, but research has shown the many benefits of this program in retaining top talent across the trades. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada