Ferguson Takes the Lead as Initial Sponsor to Advocate for Women in Plumbing and Piping

Ferguson Takes the Lead as Initial Sponsor to Advocate for Women in Plumbing and Piping

As the baby boomer generation edges closer to retirement eligibility by 2030, a significant shift in the skilled trades landscape is imminent. This is particularly relevant for industries like construction, where a shortage of skilled professionals is felt. The following spotlights the critical role that women could play in filling this skills gap.


  1. Changing Demographics: As the baby boomer generation moves towards retirement, there will be an increasing number of career openings in skilled trades.
  2. The Role of Women: Women, who currently make up just 10% of the U.S. construction workforce and less than 4% of plumbers and pipefitters, represent a largely untapped pool of potential talent.
  3. Ferguson’s Initiative: The company Ferguson has become a founding sponsor of Women in Plumbing and Piping (WiPP), an organization specifically aimed at integrating women into the skilled trades.
  4. Federal Investment: New federal initiatives in infrastructure create additional opportunities for women to enter the field, as explained by Melissa Hazelwood, director of social impact at Ferguson.
  5. WiPP’s Goals: Women in Plumbing and Piping aims to attract and retain women in the industry through mentorship, education, networking, and recognition.


Significant Contributions:

  1. Diversity and Innovation: The article argues that including women would bring fresh perspectives and problem-solving approaches, thereby fostering innovation.
  2. Enhanced Collaboration: Diverse teams, including women, are posited to collaborate more effectively, which is essential in industries that rely heavily on teamwork.
  3. Role Models: The presence of women in leadership roles can act as a catalyst, inspiring the younger generation to consider careers in skilled trades.
  4. Why Ferguson and WiPP Matter: Their collaboration isn’t just about gender diversity but also about contributing to the industry’s resilience and growth. The four pillars of WiPP — mentorship, education, networking, and recognition — are designed to provide comprehensive support to women entering or currently in the field.


In conclusion, the integration of women in skilled trades is not just an egalitarian initiative but also a strategic move. It makes the case that this is essential for industry resilience and growth, especially as the workforce demographic shifts due to the retiring baby boomer generation.


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