No trade-offs in the trade career: How tradespeople prosper over their peers

We gathered data directly from tradespeople to get the facts about the life, wealth and abilities afforded to people who choose a trade career.

So, what’s the life of a tradie really like? Read on to find out.

School leavers are about to make life-changing decisions about their future

But in today’s economy, where property ownership, a debt-free lifestyle, and the freedoms of greater financial security aren’t guaranteed to those leaving higher education, what is the right career path to take?

There’s a lot to consider before making this decision, but the trade career has some surprising advantages…

Tradies are first to fly the nest

On average, tradespeople leave home over a year earlier than the average person in the UK.

While the average tradie leaves home after turning 23, the rest of the UK leaves it another year and a half before taking this first step at 24 years and 7 months.

Move straight onto a living wage

The average tradesperson starts earning a living wage at just 22 years old.

While this is also true of the general population, the timeframe for this group to start picking up a living wage can span from 22-29 years old.

Without the debt burden of their peers

Training for your future comes at a cost but tradies find they owe, on average, around £5,600 from their training and education in pursuit of a trade career.

By comparison, a university graduate will spend nearly £40,000 more on training and education than a tradesperson.

Settling down sooner

On average, those who choose trade careers have their first or only child by the age of 26.

This is two years before the average woman (28), and nearly seven years before the average man becomes a parent for the first time (33).

Tying the knot

Men who choose the trade career route will get married approximately five years earlier than the average man in the UK.

Female tradies will get married three years earlier on average, than women around the UK.

With a headstart on home ownership

People who choose a trade as their career path buy their first home at 27. This is three years earlier than the rest of the UK population, who, on average, won’t buy their first home before the age of 30.

Not only that, tradespeople are 44% more likely to have owned multiple properties than the rest of the population. In fact, one in six tradies will have owned more than one property at the same time.

A sense of financial security

While a third of the UK population have less than £600 in savings, and 41% of people don’t have enough savings to live for a month without income, over half of tradespeople claim to be financially secure.

In fact, 70% of tradespeople tell us they have managed to build up their savings pot.

From entrepreneurship to smart side lines

So how do tradespeople make their money go further?

After starting their trade career, over one in four tradespeople have gone on to start their own business.

A third of tradies also get involved in investing, and can claim to have investments such as rental homes, stocks, shares and even cryptocurrency.

What’s more, 61% of tradespeople say they’ve managed to use their skills to save them money in their personal life, contributing to their overall ability to grow their savings - and leaving them with more money to buy building materials.

Tradespeople are happier than the UK average!

73% of tradespeople surveyed reported that they were happy with their job - comparable surveys rate overall UK job satisfaction at between 41% and 65%.

What is it about working in the trades that makes them happier?

72% of tradies feel a sense of pride in their work, and that's down to the skills they say they build along the way!

Feeling inspired by the tradie life?

We think trade careers lead to some of those most valuable professional and personal skills around, and they can get you a headstart on some of those life goals if that’s what you’re after.

So, if you’re feeling inspired to take up a trade, nothing should stand in your way!

Sources and methodology

Research was conducted by Censuswide, with 542 manual skilled workers in the UK.
The survey took place between 30.06.21 and 05.07.21
Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
Additional sources: home ownership, marriage, births by parent, living wage, leaving home, savings, job happiness, job satisfaction, and debt.