Female tradespeople find buying workwear difficult

Most female tradespeople say buying workwear is difficult due to poor sizing and lack of available sizes, according to a snapshot poll.

Screwfix has carried out a sample survey with 40 female tradespeople to uncover the challenges they face when buying clothing for their job.

More than eight in ten said buying workwear is difficult, with almost half (48%) highlighting that poor sizing and lack of available sizes is a key issue.

  • Research from Screwfix highlights the challenges female tradespeople face when buying workwear
  • Customers say sizing, material and cost are key issues
  • Screwfix works with all-female Pro-Panel to test new workwear range

Not designed for my body type and ill fitting (35%), too expensive (26%) and uncomfortable, stiff materials (24%) are other problems associated with purchasing essential clothes for the trade as a woman.

Female tradespeople admit to making their own moderations to clothes with more than half rolling up sleeves and trousers (54%) and adding additional holes to belts (15%), buttons or zips (11%).

Furthermore, almost one in ten (9%) use scissors to adapt items including cutting off and shortening trousers, sleeves, and tops.

The issue is so problematic that it’s a key barrier for women entering the trade with 68% saying more inclusive PPE, workwear and products need to be designed with female tradespeople in mind.

Katie Jones, Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2023 and member of the all-female Pro-Panel, said: “As a woman in the trade, I think it’s really important the industry is as inclusive as possible. Having female tradespeople able to access workwear that’s not only fit for the job, but also comfortable, is a key part of this.

“I’m excited to be a part of Screwfix’s Pro Panel and look forward to meeting the other members to share our thoughts and experiences and to be among the first to put Screwfix’s latest women’s workwear range to the test out on the job.”

Matt Compton, Commercial Director at Screwfix, commented: “We want the trade to be as inclusive as possible, and not being able to find suitable protective clothing has been highlighted as an issue for female tradespeople.

“Participants in our poll told us that comfort is key when looking for workwear, followed by durability then protection, so we have recruited a Pro-Panel to stress test our latest range and feedback findings. We’ll be sharing their honest reviews with our customers, based on their experiences on site, to make it easier for all to source clothing that is fit for purpose.”

The research found that T-shirts and polo shirts, safety boots, trousers and cargo pants are the most worn items of women’s workwear. Some of these items have been provided to the Pro-Panel comprising previous winners and finalists of Screwfix Trade Apprentice and Screwfix Top Tradesperson – plus content creator, Els Electric.

Feedback will be shared on Screwfix website and social channels in the coming months.

For more information about the new workwear range for women, please visit: https://www.screwfix.com/c/safety-workwear/womens-workwear/cat8510001