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18 January 2011
A new generation of 'techno-sexual' men is to blame for the demise in basic home maintenance and DIY skills, with men preferring to nurture their technological prowess rather than learn to fix a dripping tap - according to a new study* for AA Home Emergency Response.
The researchers found that in the 1970s 71% of men learnt DIY and home maintenance skills from their fathers. By 1990 this had fallen to 67%.
The boom in technology in the 1990s saw the interest in learning DIY wane even further, dwindling to the current level of 44%.
The AA has predicted that based on the current rate of decline, by 2030 just one in five men will receive basic DIY knowledge from their father.
If the trends continues, home maintenance skills could be on the road to 'extinction' by as early as 2048, resulting in a nation of 'no can do' homeowners.
Asked about the last time they faced a DIY challenge, a stark difference appeared between the generations:
• 73% of 55 to 65 year olds were able to do the job themselves
• 55% of under 35s said they could do the job
• Only 32% of under 25s said they could
As well as carrying out their own home repairs, fathers are seeing their offspring take advantage of their expertise – 27% of under 25s called in dad to solve their latest DIY problem.
Only a third of men (34%) actually feel confident in their ability to carry out the majority of DIY, repairs and maintenance around the home.
Over 65s are most likely to describe themselves as very handy and able to carry out relatively difficult jobs around the home whilst the under 25s are least likely to say they are adept at home repairs (21%).
Tom Stringer, Head of Home Rescue for the AA, said: "When we look at skills and knowledge, the 21st century man is keener to show his manliness through his ability to grasp technology than a power tool. We have known for some time that DIY and home maintenance skills are on the wane and that if people aren't learning skills from their fathers this will only get worse. Increasingly people need someone they can trust to sort out problems around the home and this is exactly why we launched the AA Home Emergency Response service."
Men increasingly view technology as essential to their masculinity, resulting in the rise of a new generation of 'techno-sexual' men.
Researchers found that 'being knowledgeable about technology' was the most important quality for men to feel masculine, whereas DIY skills were fourth behind being successful in their chosen career and being a competent driver.
*The research was carried out for the AA Home Emergency Response service by ICM. It was carried out in September and December 2010 amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults.