Pest control sector needs to encourage and support diversity

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The male-dominated pest control industry has been urged to become a more comfortable career choice for young people and women.

Speaking at the BPCA 80th anniversary parliamentary reception at the House of Commons, Gemma Sutherland, a graduate service technician at Pest Solutions, gave an insight into what it’s like to be a young woman within the pest control industry.

Acknowledging that pest control is a male-dominated industry, she said there are some misconceptions about being both a young person and a woman within pest control.

“There are a shocking number of men who have explained to me that I have to walk on the beams or risk falling through their ceiling,” she said.

Ms Sutherland added that gaining credibility for her work can also be a challenge.

“Sometimes when they first meet me, customers say that because I’m young, I’m inexperienced and, therefore, incapable of solving their problems,” she said.

“This motivates me to keep learning, to demonstrate my professionalism and to do the best job that I can. Pest control may be a male-dominated industry, but it’s also a customer service-driven industry which women can be just as successful at as men.

“Through certain experiences, I’ve also learnt that this job requires a great deal of integrity and respect when dealing with both the animals and customers. It is not a job for everyone, neither is it a job for a particular sex.”

Ms Sutherland is currently working as part of an academic relations group within BPCA and one aspect of this is to bring more young, educated people into the industry.

She added: “Individuals who are critical thinking, passionate and driven, are vital to the current climate of pest management.

“I have confidence that as an industry we will continue to encourage and support diversity, shift public preconceptions, and hopefully, in the near future, pest control will be a comfortable career choice for many young people and women like myself.”

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About Author

With more than 25 years' experience in business-to-business publishing, Simon is editor of LBM titles Pest and OvertheCounter. Big fan of Manchester United.