Tradespeople shake off stereotypes by choosing work over World Cup


For years, tradespeople have been unfairly tarnished with the reputation for prioritising football over work. Many members of the public see them as being a bit too eager to down tools and head to the nearest big screen.

Nearly 20 million viewers tuned in to watch England in their first world cup match on Monday 18th June, however, it is the daytime games that will put loyalties to the test in a clash of the World Cup vs work.

However, recent research shows that 75% of tradespeople, including builders, carpenters and joiners, will always choose work over football if the two ever conflicted.  According to a poll of more than 1,000 IronmongeryDirect customers, the vast majority of tradespeople claimed they would never consider skipping work to watch their team or the World Cup. Many poll participants are planning when and where they will be watching their team – but outside of work.

If they were to ‘pull a sickie’ to watch their team play during the day, tradespeople offered some of the best excuses they would give, with the more elaborate ones including:

  • “I’ve been called up as a late replacement by Gareth Southgate”
  • “My boyfriend’s in labour.”
  • “I’ve got soap in my eyes and can’t find a towel.”
  • “I’ve been delayed at the airport on holiday…in Scarborough.”
  • “My Auntie’s Gerbil is about to give birth and I’m the nominated birthing partner.”

Some of the more convincing examples included:

  • “I have a dentist appointment.”
  • “The children are poorly.”
  • “I’ve got the flu.”

Employers are recognising that the World Cup is important to many of their staff. Many responded to the polls saying they would be more than happy to be flexible by offering them time off.

One respondent stated: “As the boss, I always give my team the time off. It also saves them giving me the daft excuses!”.

The research also revealed ongoing optimism among tradespeople, with more than half believing England will make it to the Quarter Finals. Also, half of those polled (49%) said they would give up alcohol for good to see England win the tournament.

The UK’s leading online trade supplier, IronmongeryDirect, ran a series of polls to find out more about tradespeople’s attitude to work during the World Cup in June.

Andy Wood, football enthusiast and Marketing Director of IronmongeryDirect, said: “The World Cup is an exciting time for many of us – tradespeople are no exception. We wanted to find out how our customers were preparing for the year’s biggest sporting event. The research was carried out in the name of fun, but it was great to see results challenging the outdated stereotype of contractors and other trades professionals neglecting their jobs for football! Tradespeople in Britain work hard, and we hope they enjoy watching World Cup 2018.”


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BDC 311 : Dec 2023