‘Man skills’ wane as women catch up

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Men are rapidly losing their ‘man skills’ and are being caught up by their female counterparts in DIY proficiency, according to new research from the AA.

The findings reveal that young men are less than half as likely to know how to perform tasks such as changing a plug, bleeding a radiator or changing a fuse as their fathers and grandfathers, and are often shown up by their other halves’ handy-work.

The survey asked men and women whether they could competently perform a wide range of household tasks. While there was a 79 per cent chance that men aged 55 or over could perform any given task, this declined to 52 per cent for men aged between 25 and 34, and just 35 per cent for men aged 18 to 24.

The study reveals that while women’s DIY prowess is also in decline, it is decreasing at a much slower rate than that of their male counterparts, meaning the gap between male and female DIY competence is narrowing.

While women aged 55 or over had a 43 per cent chance of being able to perform any given task in the survey, this decreased to 33 per cent for those aged 25 to 34 and 28 per cent for the 18 to 24-year olds.

Tom Stringer, head of AA Home Emergency Response, said: “It is very clear from our findings that DIY and home maintenance skills are very much on the wane and that increasingly people need someone they can trust to sort out problems around the home.”

According to the survey, one in three men aged 18-24 (35 per cent) can’t competently change a light bulb themselves, in comparison to just 29 per cent of females in the same age group.

Young women aged 18-24 are more competent than males of the same age at assembling flat pack furniture (64 per cent against 54 per cent), are equally likely to be able to wallpaper a wall competently (32 per cent) and almost as likely to be able to fill or patch a hole in the wall (33 per cent against 36 per cent) or replace a door lock (17 per cent against 19 per cent).

The study highlights a sharp decline in men’s expertise around the home. Only half of men aged 18 to 24 (50 per cent) can change the fuse in a plug in comparison to 98 per cent of men aged 55 or over. Just 42 per cent of men in the younger age group say they could unblock a sink or drain compared to 86 per cent of those in the older age group, and a mere 17 per cent of young men could replace a washer to fix a dripping tap, against 70 per cent of their older counterparts.