Australian tradies describe their ‘workdays from hell’ filled with bullying and sexism


Aussie tradies describe their ‘workdays from hell’ filled with constant bullying and sexism – but some say it’s just ‘banter’

  • Aussie asked tradies to share their experiences of working in the industry
  • He said he was shocked after overhearing tense conversation between workers
  • Dozens of tradespeople shared stories of being ‘bullied’ in a ‘toxic’ environment
  • However, others explained banter was just ‘tradie culture’ and a way of bonding 


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A Tasmanian man has shone a light on the dark realities of working as a tradie in Australia, as dozens share their experiences of ‘constant bullying and sexism’. 

The young man, who goes by the name Cleffy on TikTok, said he was left shocked after overhearing a tense conversation between tradies on a worksite.

‘Why are tradespeople so mean to each other,’ he asked.  

‘Across the fence from my house they’re building a house and I hear how these people talk to each other or just talk to the apprentices, and how they give each other instructions.

The Tasmanian TikTok star said he was left shocked after overhearing a conversation between tradies on a nearby worksite and asked others to share their experiences of the industry

‘I’m just curious to know what are people’s experiences with working on trade sites because I could never, ever, ever work in a work environment like that.’ 

The man explained he was ‘too sensitive’ to work as a tradesman but said he had respect for everyone in the industry, adding ‘we can’t live without you’.

His call-out was quickly answered by hundreds of tradies who shared their experiences of ‘toxic workplaces’ where name-calling and bullying was rife.  

‘I work in the construction industry and I find it appalling to hear the way some people talk to subcontractors. Straight up bullying and abuse,’ one said. 

‘When my brother was doing his apprenticeship he would often get targeted and bullied, people would make fun of his inexperience which almost made him leave the trade altogether,’ a second woman wrote.  

The man's call-out was quickly answered by hundreds of tradies who shared their experiences of 'toxic workplaces' where name-calling and bullying was rife (pictured, riggers in Perth)

The man's call-out was quickly answered by hundreds of tradies who shared their experiences of 'toxic workplaces' where name-calling and bullying was rife (pictured, riggers in Perth)

The man’s call-out was quickly answered by hundreds of tradies who shared their experiences of ‘toxic workplaces’ where name-calling and bullying was rife (pictured, riggers in Perth)

‘From my experience blokes who did their apprenticeship 15-20+ years ago are the toxic aggressive ones, new school tradies are pretty chill,’ a third commented. 

‘My husband is a concreter and I get it’s tradie culture but some days he comes home so down and drained and feels so unappreciated. It’s sad,’ a fourth said. 

‘As a woman in a site, I get mocked and yelled at. I hear them talk ill of me. They laugh at my mistakes. They create stories about my personal life,’ another shared. 

‘I worked as a brickies labourer, got treated like absolute garbage. Had to buy the beer all the time and put up with their abuse daily,’ a man revealed. 

However not everyone agreed the construction industry was ‘toxic’ with several explaining the ‘rough’ way people spoke to each other was just banter.  

Not everyone agreed the construction industry was 'toxic' with several explaining the 'rough' way people spoke to each other was just banter (pictured, a construction worker in Sydney)

Not everyone agreed the construction industry was 'toxic' with several explaining the 'rough' way people spoke to each other was just banter (pictured, a construction worker in Sydney)

Not everyone agreed the construction industry was ‘toxic’ with several explaining the ‘rough’ way people spoke to each other was just banter (pictured, a construction worker in Sydney)

‘I work as a labourer and honestly it depends on the place you’re working at. But generally, it’s just banter. Most of them are just kidding around,’ one said.

‘Been doing it for 8 years now and most people are fine. We talk rough to each other but it’s just banter,’ a second agreed.

‘A lot of the time it’s a way of bonding,’ a third commented. 

‘Most people on site are mates just having a laugh. Some are toxic for sure, but at least it’s to your face and not office drama behind your back,’ a fourth shared. 

‘It’s honestly not even that bad, just because we use a lot of foul language towards each other doesn’t mean we don’t have respect for each other,’ another added. 

Tradespeople make up 30 per cent of the country's workforce according to WorkSafe Australia and the most recent census (pictured, a construction worker on a site in Sydney)

Tradespeople make up 30 per cent of the country's workforce according to WorkSafe Australia and the most recent census (pictured, a construction worker on a site in Sydney)

Tradespeople make up 30 per cent of the country’s workforce according to WorkSafe Australia and the most recent census (pictured, a construction worker on a site in Sydney)

Demand for tradespeople have surged in the last year, amid a renovation boom during lockdowns and Covid isolation rules spark a shortage of workers.

Some tradespeople are charging customers up to 300 per cent more as demand soars.

Airconditioning technicians, plumbers, and electricians are among the trades services that have been caught hiking up their prices. 

 Jim’s Mowing boss Jim Penman said he had never witnessed so much demand with his workers forced to turn down clients because they were too busy.

‘We’ve had to knock back 328,000-plus requests for service and in November and December, around half the people who rang, we just couldn’t help as we couldn’t keep up with the demand,’ he told News Corp. 

Mr Penman blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the unprecedented demand with closed borders and lockdowns prompting homeowners to take on more DIY projects.

‘The government has been putting plenty of money into the economy, and we can’t go on a trip, so we tend to spend our cash around the house,’ he said. 

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